Jean Eddy, president and CEO of American Student Assistance, talks about how the school-to-work journey needs to begin in middle school on the Work in Progress podcast for WorkingNation
Jean Eddy, president and CEO of American Student Assistance, talks about how the school-to-work journey needs to begin in middle school on the Work in Progress podcast for WorkingNation

The school-to-work journey can’t wait until high school

A conversation with Jean Eddy, president and CEO, American Student Assistance
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In this episode of Work in Progress, I’m joined by Jean Eddy, president and CEO of American Student Assistance (ASA), to discuss the growing importance of putting kids on a career pathway early, which she explores in her book, Crisis-Proofing Today’s Learners: Reimagining Career Education to Prepare Kids for Tomorrow’s World.

How do we prepare our kids for careers post high school? College? Apprenticeships? What is the best pathway for career exploration? These are important questions that Eddy says we all must take a role in answering.

“(Teachers) put in an awful lot of time. They have an awful lot of things to deliver within a very short window. And now we are saying, okay, let’s switch it up and let’s do more. Let’s figure out how to get career education exploration into all of what you already do.

“Parents have got to be involved in this and help. Teachers have to basically put pressure on the systems that they’re within. It’s school departments. It’s employers too, and policymakers. We have to understand that this is an issue that one person is not going to be able to fix, or one system is going to be able to fix.”

ASA is a national nonprofit that describes its mission as helping students know themselves, know their options, and make informed decisions about their education and career goals early in life. “Our overall objective is to build a generation of successful individuals who are confident, competent, and ready to realize the future they envision,” according to ASA.

Eddy shares details of the digital ecosystem of platforms the are helping kids start on their school-to-work journey beginning in middle school.

“We have digital programs that are entirely free that kids can use to start the process. Our research shows that middle school is prime time to start with young people. And the first thing we need to help them figure out is who they are. What do they love to do? What are they good at? What do they get fun from? And use that to basically then go and see the number of careers that are possible by doing that.

“If we have kids figure out what they love, what they’re good at, what the world needs, and what they can be paid for, at the end of the day, they’re going to have a successful future.”

In the podcast, we go into much more detail as to how we get students to that point where they understand what they want to do and how to do it.

Listen to the podcast here, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find the conversation on our new Work in Progress YouTube channel.

Episode 302: Jean Eddy, president and CEO, American Student Assistance
Host & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Theme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4
Transcript: Download the transcript for this episode here
Work in Progress Podcast: Catch up on previous episodes here

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