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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

I just got home from the Inaugural America's Promise Night " an event centered around the belief that every child should have the opportunity and support to pursue his or American dream. The event was a celebration of leaders who are living and supporting the promise of giving every child a chance and an opportunity and it showcased the broad private and public support of this great cause. While it is easy to get excited about the glamour and drama of an event, what really struck me was how simple and pure the mission is. America's Promise is focused on 5 promises that we as member of America's Promise and ultimately citizens should make. Every young person should be able to say, I have . . .
The 2014 Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) annual conference gave us the opportunity to show how career colleges can enroll high school non-completers and prepare them for success in a post-secondary setting. We hosted a panel discussion, which consisted of Denise Fox Pratt, VP of Institutional Effectiveness at Dorsey Schools, and Gerrit Ketelhut, Penn Foster program facilitator, examined the benefits of the partnership between Dorsey Schools and Penn Fosters High School Completion program by adding a real-life perspective to the proven effectiveness of this blended model. Representing one of the many student success stories was student Nikkiya Gentry, who shared her experience (and stole the show).
The healthcare job market isn't just thriving - it's soaring in popularity. According to Forbes, nearly 5 million new jobs will be created in the sector by 2022.1 Many often consider the healthcare field as an industry fit for aspiring doctors and nurses, but today a career in healthcare presents opportunities for a multitude of qualified health professionals with varied skill sets. Not only are positions plentiful, but many don't require an extensive educational background. From sectors such as physical therapy and patient care, a two-year degree or a career diploma or certificate can offer career paths that lead to substantial salaries, job stability and career growth.  
I am flying back from this year's ASU/GSV Summit which has become the consummate gathering of the ed tech, investor and digital innovator community. With over 2400 attendees, the event was big and full of promise. From teachers sharing stories of how technology has transformed their classrooms to the students themselves who are blazing a new path to hungry entrepreneurs looking to meet with the investor community, the event attempts to showcase innovation, encourage disruptive thought, and spark this community of education-focused individuals to make a difference.
Post-secondary enrollment rates are on the rise, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.1 In fall 2012, 17.7. million undergraduate students were enrolled in a degree-granting postsecondary institution, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Undergraduate enrollment is on the rise, and expected to increase to 20.2 million students by 2023.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the March unemployment rate in the United States is 5.5%. On the surface, this is great news despite the flat month-to-month performance. However, if we dig deeper into the data the numbers are still bleak for several key constituents of the employment economy, and education and training are likely the vital factor to addressing chronic challenges in the overall unemployment rate. Take for example the U-6 unemployment rate, the indicator often viewed as the best overall measure of employment. This metric includes total unemployed, plus those who are working part-time because they are unable to find full-time work, as well as those who are too discouraged to be considered actively seeking full-time work. That number is also declining as the economy improves, but is still a staggering 11% or over 17 million people.1
High school completion programs are giving students the opportunity to earn the qualifications they need to pursue career-focused higher education. Over 80 career school campuses have already launched high school completion programs to date, and they are finding that the majority of high school graduates who emerge from the program are confident, highly motivated to succeed, and are matriculating into their school. Before your school president begins asking you about High School Completion programs, familiarize yourself with these 5 questions you should know about them:
In 2012, the Library Journal called non-traditional students the new majority. That trend has not changed - non-traditional is the new traditional. In response, the academic landscape and higher education institutions have shifted to meet the needs of non-traditional students with diverse backgrounds. As these students graduate and eagerly enter the workforce, employers may be hesitant to embrace this new majority.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Paul Simon Job Corps Winter 2015 graduation ceremony where 80+ young people graduated from the Job Corps, many with a Penn Foster High School diploma. Every opportunity I get to speak at a graduation ceremony, I am humbled by the level of grit, determination and commitment these young people have exhibited to get to this important milestone.

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