Career Exploration

Extending the Runway to Better Prepare All Students for Their Futures

The economy is evolving more rapidly than ever before, with new occupations taking shape at an unprecedented pace—the vast majority of which now require a postsecondary degree, credential, or some level of training. With the demand for skilled workers continuing to rise, coupled with the lingering educational effects of a global pandemic, it is no longer enough to start planning for career aspirations during a student’s junior—or even freshman—year of high school. Students need better and earlier career exposure to increase their likelihood of successfully transitioning into the high-value postsecondary options increasingly required for good jobs, and schools must be positioned to offer this support to ensure equitable access for all students.

American Student Assistance® (ASA) and Education Strategy Group (ESG) set out to understand states’ current approaches to defining, investing in, and supporting the implementation of middle school career exploration and, perhaps more importantly, how current students are experiencing these efforts. Through an in-depth national scan conducted by ESG, including student and expert interviews, against 13 criteria across 3 categories, several key take-aways emerged.

To read the full report and to learn more about our methodology, please follow the link below.