Jean Eddy’s New Book

Crisis-Proofing Today’s Learners

Reimagining Career Education to Prepare Kids for Tomorrow’s World

Crisis-Proofing Today’s Learners: Reimagining Career Education to Prepare Kids for Tomorrow’s World

An informative guide – for parents, educators, policy makers, and business leaders – of the best way to prepare youth for post high school education and career success.

Each year, millions of young people arrive on college campuses to learn that they’re underprepared for what will ultimately be a very expensive experiment, and one that may have no bearing on their actual interests or goals. Each year, millions more will leave high school with no plan and enter a life of self-doubt and untapped potential, simply because they didn’t apply to (or weren’t accepted into) college. In truth, both groups may be, as we witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, one crisis away from potentially irreparable failure. Yet, the narrative presented to children is still that college is the path to a successful life. The false dichotomy of “college or no college” is one of the most damaging and indelible stories presented to children.

Our jobs and workplaces are changing, and the pathways to employment are more abundant and digitally accessible than ever before. It’s time, then, to change the myths we tell children about what success looks like and how they can find it so that they can understand all the options in front of them. To prepare our youth to compete in a changing world where the stakes are often higher than they were for their parents, we must help them unlock the competencies they need to succeed, by providing all kids with access to learning experiences both inside and, vitally, outside the classroom – in their communities, homes, and in the digital spaces they love and trust. We must help kids find joy that exists at the intersection of what they’re good at, what they can be paid for, what the world needs, and what they love. This new way of thinking about self, passion and skills can help the youth of today become truly crisis-proof.


Who is Jean Eddy?

Jean Eddy is the President and CEO of American Student Assistance (ASA), where she develops and drives the overall strategic direction of the organization. Working with the ASA Board and senior management team, she is responsible for developing and driving the overall strategic direction of the organization in fulfillment of ASA’s mission. Jean provides leadership and oversight for ASA as it evaluates and implements new initiatives to help kids discover their education and career opportunities.

Named by the Board of Directors as President and CEO in the fall of 2016, Jean was asked to undertake an evaluation of the organization’s direction and purpose to better align ASA’s strengths with highest student impact areas.

During Jean’s tenure, ASA has pivoted from a 65-year history of helping students with college financing and repayment options to a new focus of helping students discover potential career paths earlier in their education journey, before financing or repayment need occur. In collaboration with the Board and her senior management team, she has successfully shifted ASA’s focus and direction to help kids – as early as middle school to – know themselves, know their options, and make informed choices about their education and career goals.

Jean is an accomplished senior executive with over 30 years of experience creating and leading organizations that promote successful operational efficiencies.  She is deeply committed to student success.  Prior to becoming its CEO, Jean served on the Board of ASA for 20 years, serving most recently as Vice Chair. She spent her career in higher education holding numerous senior level positions in academic affairs, finance and administration, and student affairs and enrollment including serving as the Chief Operating Officer at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment at Brandeis University, and holding multiple roles in the financial services and enrollment areas during a 12-year tenure at Northeastern University.

Nationally, Jean is a recognized speaker and subject matter expert on creating and optimizing solutions that impact net tuition revenue focusing on recruitment and retention issues. She has held memberships on the College Board, NASFAA, EASFAA, NACAC, and AICAD and has served as a trustee for the Providence Foundation and The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council. Jean has served as president for both the Rhode Island Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and Governor Charlie Baker’s Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University and a Master’s degree from Johnson & Wales University.  

  • Jean Eddy offers the wisdom we need to spark the courage to move beyond our fixed mindset about schooling and embrace pathways that allow all individuals to gain exposure to the many possibilities for their future, build their passions, and find their purpose by design, not by chance. This isn’t just vital for the futures of our children—but for the fabric of our society.
    Michael B. Horn
    Author, “From Reopen to Reinvent”
  • True transformation begins when young people learn how to go to work ON their lives rather than just IN them. Eddy’s book supports aspiring entrepreneurs and introduces a profound path to making that possible.
    Michael Gerber
    Author, “The E-Myth Revisited” | NYT Bestseller, 2 Decades | “The World’s #1 Small Business Guru” – Inc. Magazine
  • It’s inspiring to read Crisis-Proof by Jean Eddy, a sincere and thoughtful work of a lifetime. Eddy makes a compelling case why our educational systems must do more to help students find a sense of purpose in their lives and embrace a reason for living. Real change, she argues persuasively, starts with respecting informal learning and prioritizing skills development, understanding each young person is unique. This book is timely. And necessary.
    Walter Anderson
    Former Editor-in-Chief of Parade magazine and author of The Confidence Course: Seven Steps to Self-fulfillment
  • Crisis Proof hones the reader’s view on the real problems to solve for when it comes to preparing learners for a future that is dynamic, uncertain, and full of risk. Jean Eddy makes a compelling case for how more and better pathways are urgently needed that reinforce durable skills and promote adaptability in one’s life and career. Not only will this prepare learners for a lifetime of personal and professional success, but our country’s very future and economic competitiveness may depend on it.
    Jason A. Tyszko
    Senior Vice President of the Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • “Crisis proofing” our children requires a radical rethinking of what it is to deliver education and skills to the upcoming generations. Crisis proofing our youth is THE answer and we know how to do it, as Eddy so aptly points out.
    Deborah Quazzo
    Managing Partner at GSV Ventures and Co-Founder at ASU+GSV Summit


A Look Inside the Book

“Not every kid leaves high school with a job offer, an internship, college acceptance letter, or even with a diploma. One thing that nearly every American kid leaves school with, though, is uncertainty; the kind that often lasts a lifetime. In the paradigm of preparing kids for success in adult life, striving to give every kid career certainty is not the answer. Instead, we need to be solving for adaptability and for happiness. This involves undoing the rampant mindset that there’s only one pathway to success. Kids need to learn adaptability and they need room to experiment and learn in meaningful ways, both inside and outside of schools. Why solve for adaptability instead of certainty? Because bridges that are too rigid can break. Because kids are human beings who deserve to enjoy and learn from the ride of life instead of fixating on the end goal.”

“To thrive, every kid needs equitable access to opportunities to research, learn more about themselves, and be inspired to build their own unique bridge to adulthood. Equitable access means self-discovery and career exploration experiences are abundant in the curriculum and in the community, so they are more than just one-off programs or only for students of certain achievement levels. Kids need to focus less on achieving A+, and more focus on finding a path.”

“Adults often tell teenagers who are about to leave high school to “dream big.” Instead, we should tell them that, if they start planning and building early enough, their life’s ambitions will be more than just vapor. “Early” is the key word. Why start early? There are countless reasons to start early, but central to them all is this urgency: young people today are entering a world of massive uncertainty and they have just been through a global crisis that is unprecedented in how it played out and in how it continues to impact their communities, families, and lives.”

“The classroom is one of the few physical spaces in modern society that has remained relatively unchanged since it became the de facto teaching and learning venue in the Western world. So dominant is the assumption that the only learning of any value happens within these walls, in these books, at these desks – and measured by these tests – that we’ve ignored the incredible technological advances happening all around us and their power to drive, amplify, and “defrost” learning. The paradigm change we need is for educators, parents, administrators, mentors, counselors, and community leaders to understand and embrace the potential and reality of digitally networked learning and online experiences. In the gaming environment, kids can and do learn and retain valuable skills that are difficult to unlock in a classroom: extreme perseverance; goal setting; problem-solving; the importance of incremental success; and agility.”

When ASA asked Gen Z youth about gaming, they said they were extremely interested in playing a game that would help them develop their real-world skills. They understood, even at a young age, that the same feeling of validation and advancement they enjoyed through avatars could work in their favor in school and a career. Entrepreneurs are taking note. Game creator Ender, for example, has made it their mission to disrupt the traditional gaming space – and ultimately education – with constructive and affirming gaming experiences that build, as their CEO Gautam Bhargava says, “Employability by 18.”

“When we reimagine education to include work-based experiences, any kid from any background – not just those with wealthy or gainfully employed parents – will be able to envision their own success, see people who look and sound like them succeeding on the job, and develop vital skills that will propel them into adulthood success. Kids need us to help them unlock their true potential by way of these opportunities.”

“Non-degree aspirations are outside the norm. And what kid wants to be outside the norm where it’s scary, lonely, and risky? There are numerous examples of how that messaging plays out in the media and in online spaces that kids are absorbing, and it starts early in the school experience and continues as we use archaic metrics to tell kids what they’re worth to the world.”

 “From building a video game city, to DIY craft projects or launching a YouTube channel about fashion, informal activities have the power to help kids unlock vital skills and knowledge that they’ll use later – skills that they crave and need in their lives. Informal learning may be among the greatest frontiers of promise for transforming an undeniably ailing and increasingly polarizing education system. If we can figure out a way to flood kids’ learning environments and the spaces they love so much with parallel opportunities for engagement, discovery, exploration and growth, the possibilities are endless.

 “There is a revolution ahead that is centered on transforming the way we create and deliver educational experiences to kids. Those experiences can and will include self-discovery and career exploration, and will be focused on their individual needs, goals, and passions. In this vision for a transformed educational ecosystem, success will be measured on the competency kids have built in their skills, on the progress that they feel they’ve made in reaching their goals, and on the confidence they feel when making decisions about what comes next.”

“The movement is this: A path for every kid; a plan for every future. Working together and using the exceptional infrastructure at our disposal and the brightest minds of educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and subject-matter experts our country and the wider world have to offer, this vision is completely within reach. Let’s make this vision a reality, and then let’s get out of the way so our kids can build the world they want to inhabit.”



Pages: 157 • Trim: 6 x 9

978-1-4758-7243-9 • Hardback • October 2023 • $75.00 • (£58.00)

978-1-4758-7244-6 • Paperback • October 2023 • $25.00 • (£18.99)

978-1-4758-7245-3 • eBook • October 2023 • $23.50 • (£17.99) (coming soon)

Subjects: Education / Counseling / Career DevelopmentEducation / Professional DevelopmentEducation / Teaching / Methods & Strategies

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Uncertainty Continuum
Chapter 2. From A+ to A Path
Chapter 3. Start Early & Stay Many Steps Ahead
Chapter 4. Defrosting the Frozen Classroom
Chapter 5. The Skills That Will Save the World
Chapter 6. The Shift to Work-Based
Chapter 7. The Quest for Ikigai
Chapter 8. Flipping the “Risk” Narrative on Education and Work
Chapter 9. Harnessing Informal
Chapter 10. A Powerful Vision