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ERIC Number: ED561286
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
Let's Get Real: Deeper Learning and the Power of the Workplace. Deeper Learning Research Series
Hoffman, Nancy
Jobs For the Future
For young people in the United States, whatever their backgrounds, one of the essential purposes of schooling should be to help them develop the knowledge, skills, and competence needed to search for and obtain work that they find at least reasonably satisfying. Our present educational system does precious little to introduce young people to the working world or to prepare them for just how large a role work is likely to play in the rest of their lives. While the phrase "college and career readiness" appears seemingly everywhere in the current discourse about the goals of high school, the "career readiness" part often seems like an afterthought, tacked on as if to suggest that if students pursue an academic, college-prep course of study--the real priority of most recent school reforms--they will also, as a side benefit, have better job prospects. This lack of attention to career preparation only serves to intensify the class divide, leaving the most privileged students to anticipate and prepare for professional careers like those of their parents, while students from low-income families continue to think of work mainly as a way to survive. This paper argues that the current discussion about deeper learning in the nation's high schools ought to be reframed in order to acknowledge that career readiness isn't just an outcome of deeper learning; rather, career readiness is better defined as a process through which young people learn deeply and become prepared for the American version of working life. Hoffman begins by reviewing where the United States now stands with regard to youth experience in the labor market. She turns to a more hopeful subject when she discusses the psychological benefits of learning through a combination of school- and work-based activities. She continues with a description of an existing education system that relies on partnerships between employers, unions, a central government, and educators to make work a source of deeper learning that meets both the developmental needs of young people and the economic need for a steady supply of well-trained talent. She then reviews some promising initiatives that aim to promote high-quality, work-based learning for a wide range of U.S. students. [This report was produced as a collaborative effort with Students at the Center, a Jobs for the Future initiative. For the executive summary, see ED561289; for the policy bulletin, see ED561285.]
Jobs for the Future. 88 Broad Street 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 617-728-4446; Fax: 617-728-4857; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Postsecondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Authoring Institution: Jobs for the Future
Identifiers - Location: Switzerland; United States