July 22-23, 2024


American Student Assistance® (ASA), a national nonprofit at the forefront of changing the way middle and high schoolers learn about careers and prepare for their futures, is the Premier Sponsor for the 2024 Horizons Summit.

ASA will be featured throughout Horizons in leveraging The Power of Us to drive equitable economic advancement for all, across a schedule of insightful and informative youth career readiness programming that includes expert-led discussions on career navigation, policy and career-connected learning, entrepreneurship education, and post-high school pathways. In addition, attendees will have a chance to hear from Jean Eddy, President and CEO of ASA at the Horizons Author Stage where she will share her expertise and insights into empowering students to discover their education and career pathways, followed by a signing of her book Crisis-Proofing Today’s Learners: Reimagining Career Education to Prepare Kids for Tomorrow’s World.    

Day 1 | Monday, July 22 

Unlocking Economic Mobility Through Career Connected Learning: Three Organizations Leading the Way | 11:00-11:45 AM | Level M3, SHAW + LeDROIT PARK

We know our young people can’t be what they can’t see and that exposure to the world of work is often limited to those with the resources and social capital to have an engaging experience. So how do we help all young people access the kinds of experiences, resources, and skills they will need to be successful and improve economic mobility for high-need learners? Join us for a discussion to learn how four innovative providers are looking to improve the economic mobility of young learners through career development.

Moderated by: 

Annie Duong, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, American Student Assistance (ASA)

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Brandon Nicholson Ph.D., Executive Director The Hidden Genius Project
  • Byron Sanders, President & CEO, Big Thought
  • Ajit Vakharia, President and CEO, Flare Education

Legislation, Funding & Systems Change: Learners are Demanding More Entrepreneurial Experiences | 1:45-2:30 PM | Level M3, SHAW + LeDROIT PARK

In today’s rapidly evolving workforce landscape, young people want more than just a job. They are seeking opportunities to solve the world’s biggest challenges while making a meaningful impact on society. Enter a paradigm shift: legislation and funding that’s paving the way for a much-needed expansion of entrepreneurial education across the country. The reauthorization of a key federal law that supports entrepreneurship education in workforce development – WIOA – passed the House in April and is now with the Senate. Additionally, programs like NFTE, have been able to promote entrepreneurship through the federal GEAR UP college readiness program. And, entrepreneurship education, which embeds financial literacy, is aligned well with state-level growth of financial literacy requirements for K-12 education. Hear from panelists – legislators, students, and educators – about how this paradigm shift is having a direct, positive impact on career exploration and workforce readiness.

Moderated by:

  • J.D. LaRock, President and CEO, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)

Panelists include: 

  • Mary Blackford, Founder, Market 7
  • Marek Laco, Professional Staff Member, House Committee on Education and The Workforce
  • Robert Dais, Statewide Director, GEAR UP Massachusetts 

Horizons Reception | 5:30-7:00 PM | Level M4, Liberty Ballroom

Unwind from today’s excitement with the Horizons Day 1 reception sponsored by ASA and JFF. Continue your networking over an array of drinks and appetizers. 

Day 2 | Tuesday, July 23

Getting From Policy to Practice with Career-Connected Learning | 10:45-11:30 AM  | Level M3, SHAW + LeDROIT PARK

Recent research from ASA and Education Strategy Group (ESG) shows that there is a growing interest in connecting young people to career exploration, as early as middle school, and policies emerging to make that happen. But that’s not always translating to high quality programming for young people. Join us for a policy discussion on how we better prioritize career-connected learning in policy and what needs to be done to translate great intentions into high-quality programs that will lead to better career opportunities for all young people. 

Moderated by: 

  • Julie Lammers, SVP of Advocacy and Corporate Social Responsibility, American Student Assistance (ASA)

Panelists include:

  • Kathleen Mathers, Principal, ESG 
  • Katie Jenner, Secretary of Education, Indiana Department of Education
  • Luke Rhine, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education at U.S. Department of Education 

Book Break: Crisis Proof Today’s Learners | 11:30-12:10 PM | Author Stage, Mezzanine Level, Tulip

Unfortunately, much of today’s youth are just not adequately prepared to make informed, confident decisions about their plans post high school. Jean Eddy examines today’s education system and workforce preparedness in Crisis-Proofing Today’s Learners: Reimagining Career Education to Prepare Kids for Tomorrow’s World.  Join her in conversation as she explores the career readiness pathways our youth take and how a different educational approach could prepare them for the detours life presents. This conversation and book offers insights into the types of skills young people need to be successful in today’s workforce and prepare them for careers that we might not even have imagined today. 

Books will be available for purchase with the option to have Jean Eddy sign.

  • Aisha Francis, President & CEO, Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, Moderator
  • Jean Eddy, President & CEO, American Student Assistance (ASA), Author of Crisis-Proofing Today’s Learners: Reimagining Career Education to Prepare Kids for Tomorrow’s World 

Launchpad Jobs: A First Job Isn’t a Destiny, But Can Have a Profound Impact | 1:15-2:00 PM  | Level M3, SHAW + LeDROIT PARK

Much of America’s secondary school education system is oriented around what can seem like a singular goal: getting students into college. But the fact remains that 36% of high school graduates won’t go directly to college and the 42% of those who do don’t complete their degree. Young people seeking to enter the workforce after high school need different career planning support from those who go on to receive a degree. Which initial jobs should these students target? Which options will provide them with the greatest career agility, stability, and upward mobility? Which options will require additional credentialing or degrees, either now or down the road? And, which ones set these students on the path towards their eventual dream job or career? These are critical questions. Join us for topline findings of groundbreaking research on which launchpad jobs provide learners with the best trajectory in terms of earnings, career stability, wage growth, continued educational attainment, and upward mobility that bear out over the rest of their lives.

Moderated by:

  • Lauren Camera, Senior Writer, U.S. News & World Report

Panelists include:

  • Judy Goldstein, SVP Public Relations Communications & Planning, American Student Assistance (ASA)
  • Matt Sigelman, President of the Burning Glass Institute  
  • Earvin Young, Senior Director, Walmart

Plenary on Career Navigation: Change the Narrative, Change the Outcomes for Multiple Pathways  | 4:00 – 5:00 PM | Main Stage, Level M2, Marquis Ballroom

You’ve read about them in national media, seen them on TV, or perhaps been asked to pledge your support. National PSA campaigns have reshaped the narrative, breaking down stigmas against learners who choose non-traditional pathways over the typical four-year degree. Today, high school students are empowered to “tear the paper ceiling” by exploring non-degree pathways, and employers are increasingly embracing skills-based hiring by removing degree requirements. Five years after the first campaign, we’ll reflect on the success of these efforts with the leaders who initiated them. 

Facilitated by: 

  • Nirvi Shah, Author, The Hechinger Report

Panelists include: 

  • Julie Lammers, SVP Advocacy & Corporate Social Responsibility, American Student Assistance (ASA)
    • Campaign with JFF: ExpandOpportunities.org 
  • Lydia Logan, VP of Global Education and Workforce Development, IBM
    • Campaign: AI focused collaboration with IBM to Set Students Up for Career Success (with Usher)
  • Byron Auguste, CEO & Founder of Opportunity@Work
    • Campaign: Tear the  Paper Ceiling with the Ad Council