Now more than ever, businesses are in need of skilled talent. Human capital strategy has become a top priority for corporate leaders, with many CEOs reporting talent recruitment and retention as their top internal concerns. While postsecondary education continues to command a premium in the hiring market, and many employers depend largely on higher education institutions to produce a pipeline of skilled talent, employers consistently report that the majority of college graduates hired lack career readiness skills, and that only slightly more than half have the necessary critical thinking skills for the workforce.

This report positions work-based learning (WBL)—a model of learning that braids together academics and the world of work—as an essential and underutilized approach for employers seeking to recruit and retain talent. WBL can provide qualified talent for businesses, while also delivering superior educational outcomes for students, from graduation outcomes, to engagement in-school and on the job, to employability, and higher future earnings. Additionally, there is a growing national movement from policymakers at both the federal and state levels to expand WBL models, such as apprenticeships, and to incentivize work-based learning.

HERE to HERE’s northstar is an effective youth talent development system that braids work experience into each young person’s academic journey. We look to institutions like Northeastern University and others in the field to better inform our work of championing all young people and redefining the systems that unfairly burden Black and Brown students as they pursue their career ambitions.

Download BHEF_2019_Work_Based_Learning.pdf