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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

Educators, for-purpose organizations, and employers alike have cause to celebrate. America's high school graduation rate is at a new record high of 83.2%, meaning more young people than ever before will have a better chance of success in today's job market. Additionally, African American and Latino students are graduating at record rates, and gains for disabled students and students of low-income families were seen as well. Unfortunately, this still means that 16.8% of young people of the traditional high school age are falling through the cracks, and will have an exponentially lower chances of success in their careers over their lifetimes without a high school diploma. What will become of this forgotten 16.8%? What sort of economic implications will this have for our country?
Penn Foster is happy to announce that our Director of Early Childhood Education, Nancy Moretti, Ed.D. (ABD), M.S., has accepted the added role of Facilitator for the Student Interest Forum (SIF) at the NAEYC. Nancy has answered a few key questions below about her history of volunteer work and the importance of continued professional development in the early childhood education space:
When addressing the issue of youth unemployment, it is critically important to raise our collective sensitivities to the cultural gaps that exist between Opportunity Youth and employers. What do we mean by cultural gaps? Young, motivated workers present a huge untapped resource that could potentially fill the employment gap in the market today, yet currently remain disconnected from the workforce. Employers have historically not engaged Opportunity Youth, for fear that these are not the right candidates for the jobs.  We believe employers must step up and develop a Cultural Intelligence and empathy towards this untapped cohort and engage them actively.  
For organizations working with Opportunity Youth, the mission is to position students for long-term employment. Obviously, the thought and work that goes into doing this is more complex than the mission statement sounds. There are a number of different philosophies for how to most effectively train and skill students. But, a common starting place is to look at the data to understand the local economy and determine which jobs and technical skills are in demand.
Recently, we've been hearing a lot of buzz over how the "non-traditional student' is quickly becoming the new norm. Mission-based organizations and career-focused education providers are taking the helm to compile and disseminate information and profiles for this burgeoning archetype. We analyzed the key insights from two 2016 surveys on the modern-day learner: Barnes & Noble College Insights platform's report "Achieving Success for Non-traditional Students: Exploring the Changing Face of Today's Student Population," and Penn Foster's survey of 100,000+ high school, college, and career school students. Below we explore the key trends illustrated from these surveys, and why it makes a lot of sense to start seriously considering their needs when building education solutions for the upcoming generation:
Last month the Penn Foster team traveled to Pasadena, CA and Austin, TX for the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools 32nd Annual Conference in Pasadena, CA, and the Career Colleges and Schools of Texas 2016 Annual Conference in Austin, TX. At these two regional conferences, leaders in the private postsecondary education space discussed opportunities for growth and innovation in the industry. This year, the two conferences shared a common theme in their emphasis on student outcomes. New Department of Education regulations are placing an increased emphasis on job placement and retention, and schools are keen to explore sustainable avenues improve these metrics. Below we highlight several of the solutions proposed at these conferences to strengthen student outcomes:
There have been a lot of articles and opinions on our newest and highly influential employee group, the millennial. From constantly taking selfies to expecting immediate promotions, the discussion about millennials can run the gamut from the informative to the hysterical.
Flexibility, flow, and reimagining how we best deliver quality education to millennials.
Founded in 1993, National Vet Tech Week provides an opportunity to explicitly celebrate the contributions of veterinary technicians each year. Celebrated last week, the 2016 National Vet Tech Week highlighted "Veterinary Nursing in Action," speaking to the diversity of expertise required of veterinary technicians in the workplace; they are capable of offering nursing care to all manner of species. Although veterinary technicians are valued every day of the year, we joined our partners last week in honoring their commitment to compassionate, high-quality veterinary care for all animals.
Kicking off just two weeks ago, the 4th Annual Close IT Summit in Dallas, TX brought together over 500 leaders from workforce investment boards, for-purpose organizations, and employers to focus on emerging trends in workforce development. The primary topic of conversation in 2016? Competency-based education, training, and hiring.

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