Career Exploration

Making Today’s Learners Crisis-Proof: Readings from Jean Eddy’s Groundbreaking Book

Jean Eddy, CEO and President of American Student Assistance (ASA), recently published her provocative book Crisis-Proofing Today’s Learners: Reimagining Career Education to Prepare Kids for Tomorrow’s World. The book is a clarion call for a drastic change in our educational paradigm to ensure young people in middle and high school are getting the information and tools they need to make informed decisions about their futures – and avoid the crash-and-burn effect that the “college-for-all” mentality has inflicted on so many young people trying to navigate an increasingly uncertain world.

In other words, we need to make today’s young people truly crisis-proof. In a world of rapidly-changing priorities, technologies, and values, it’s on us—as caring adults—to shift the narrative.

Pivotal stakeholders like educators, parents, business leaders, and youth-serving organizations must come together to bring forth innovative solutions that allow learners to step into the world with prepared confidence – and Jean’s book outlines how we can, and should, approach these changes.

Listen to the audio excerpts from “Crisis-Proofing Today’s Learners,” recorded by ASA team members, below!

  1. Why it’s time to abandon the “college-for-all” mantra. 

Let’s be honest: the current system isn’t working. Jean herself has seen this firsthand, from her years working in higher education to her work at ASA. This clip from the book’s preface, narrated by Jean herself, underscores the crux of the reason Jean wrote it – the “one-path-fits-all” mentality is outdated, and is actively hurting the next generations of learners and workers. 

  1. Why self-discovery and career exploration need to be prioritized in K-12. 

We’ve traditionally begun introducing young people to career-connected learning far too late. It’s imperative that we start introducing kids to their options earlier on, to help combat the rampant uncertainty that so many young people face later in their education journeys. This excerpt, read by Senior Manager of Strategic Communications Mike Murphy, sets the stage for the many insights detailed throughout the book.

  1. Why middle school is the prime time to start career exploration. 

When you think “career exploration,” middle school may not be the first age group that comes to mind. But our research at ASA shows that it’s the perfect time to get kids thinking about their futures. In this clip, ASA’s CMO Clay Colarusso reads Jean’s words on why exploration needs to start in middle school.

  1. Why work-based learning is the key to uncovering potential.

Work-based learning, like internships and apprenticeships, is often relegated to college. But what if, instead, we reimagined these experiences for high school students and made this the new norm? This excerpt, read by Assoc. Director of Project Management Kathleen O’Neil, makes the case for WBL earlier on.

  1. Why skill-building is critical in K-12.

Kids today are simply not getting enough education and information that helps them build critical, durable skills like communication, self-management, and digital literacy. We need to do better. In this excerpt, read by our Chief People Officer Angie Castera, Jean outlines how and why we should be focusing more heavily on these skills in middle and high school.

  1. Why we need to increase awareness of all post-secondary pathways.

In this clip, read by VP of Impact Investing Rilwan Meeran, Jean lays out the urgent need to make kids aware of all of their options after high school – and remove the stigma that’s so often associated with non-degree pathways.

Visit this page to secure your copy of “Crisis-Proofing Today’s Learners” today. 

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