The positive effects that summer jobs have on students are immediate and visible to teachers upon students’ return to the classroom. Yet, all too often the boost that summer jobs provide, both in the high school classroom and in supporting students to make informed collegebound choices, fades too quickly as summer learnings remain disconnected from the classroom. In recent years, educators, policymakers, and community-based organizations have increased efforts to build a career focus into the postsecondary planning of graduating high school students. HERE to HERE stands with this effort and recognizes work-based learning as critical to equipping students with knowledge of the labor market, colleges, and programs; access to careers, networks, skills, and training—and above all an understanding of their own motivations, interests, passions, and agency.

This policy brief from HERE to HERE investigates how we might reconsider college and career as interrelated in important ways. More specifically, this paper suggests a shift in discussion from “College and Career Prep” to “Career as College Prep”, a more flexible model that benefits all students. The time is now to invest in work-based learning and career pathways for high school students, not as an alternative to college preparation, but as an intentional way to improve postsecondary decisionmaking and longer-term outcomes.

Download Work-is-College-Prep_2019-Report_Single.pdf