Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? Are you in that job now, or has your career path had multiple twists and turns along the way?
As adults, we know that it’s not unusual to hold multiple jobs throughout one’s lifetime, sometimes in multiple industries, yet we still ask our children what they want to be when they grow up, as if there’s only one career in their futures. Not only will they be likely to change jobs multiple times; but they will be required to demonstrate great adaptability and resourcefulness to thrive in an economy that is being rapidly transformed by technology and globalization.
Students and parents agree that we are not doing enough to prepare our future workforce. According to the 2017 Strada-Gallup College Student Survey, only a third of students believe they will graduate with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the job market (34%) and in the workplace (36%). Additionally, a 2017 Junior Achievement USA survey shows that 77 percent of teens – and the same percentage of parents – are concerned about their ability to have a successful career as adults in light of global competition and automation.
To prepare students well for these challenges, we need to be doing more across our community to expose students to a broad range of jobs and careers and to help them develop the critical foundational skills that will prepare them for success beyond high school and college.
Additionally, only two in five of American adults use a household budget (JA USA, 2017). One in three American adults have no retirement savings (JA USA, 2017). And the average household credit card debt in 2017 was $10,955 (Survey of Consumer Finances, U.S. Federal Reserve, 2017). Based on these statistics and the significant lack of financial education in high schools, our young people will not be ready for their financial futures. Their role models are struggling with their own finances.
Through the Building Independence through Education Program, JA of NM's volunteer tutors partner with high school educators to bring in-class financial education, entrepreneurship and/or work readiness programs to students. Additionally, JA of NM's volunteer business partners will welcome high school students into their work sites for career exploration and readiness opportunities.
Through the Building Independence through Education Program, 880 high school students that attend Rio Grande High School, Cleveland High School, Bernalillo High School or NACA will participate in the JA Job Shadow or JA Career Success Program (35 to 40 classrooms). Those same 880 high students that attend Rio Grande High School, Cleveland High School, Bernalillo High School or NACA will also participate in the JA Be Entrepreneurial, JA Personal Finance or JA Exploring Economics Program (35 to 40 classrooms). Thus, each of the 880 students will be taught one career readiness class and one financial literacy class, for a total of two separate classes.
Based on the high schools that JA of NM has chosen to work with for this program, the majority of students benefitting from the program will be economically disadvantaged. These schools' Free and Reduced Lunch Classification range from 35% to 85%. This indicates that 35% to 85% -- or an average 60% -- of students reside in households with incomes between 130% and 185% of the poverty level.
The expected impact of the Building Independence through Education Program is that students will complete the two classes and show an increase in skills and concepts related to work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Additionally, students will show an increase in positive attitudes toward school, graduation, post-secondary planning, etc. These outcomes are measured through pre- and post-program student surveys.