New Data Shows Increased Support for Career-Relevant Education
As our nation continues to overcome the challenges created by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the state of education and our economy have continuously been called into question. With this period further exposing educational inequities, the digital divide, and social disparities that have marginalized too many young people in this country, our work has become even more essential.
For over 40 years, NAF has partnered with hundreds of high schools to implement a results-driven educational design that includes STEM-infused, career-relevant curricula and work-based learning activities. Together, we have promoted collaboration between education and business leaders to strengthen local economies and talent pipelines and have not taken our foot off of the gas pedal when it comes to preparing high school students for their futures – especially during these uncertain times.
Fortunately, there are key pieces of data we’ve studied that point to increased support for career-relevant education and making it accessible for all. These reassuring outcomes will aid in leveraging central audiences – such as educators, business partners, and policymakers –when making the case for NAF and our work.
For the second year, NAF commissioned Echelon Insights – a respected research institute – to survey 1,000 verified voters to gauge their perspectives on topics of interest related to our mission and to better understand how the public can plug in. In thinking about the importance of career preparation programs:
- 81% of respondents believe that students who participate will be more likely to succeed in their careers and,
- Over half (57%) say it is extremely or very important to ensure all high school students have a fair chance.
In advocating for these goals, and like last year, support for government incentives crosses party lines – with the majorities of both Republican voters and Democratic voters favoring this strategy for businesses to hire high school students for internships or provide other career preparation experiences. When asked about the best ways for business professionals to help, voters’ top response is still internships for 2021.
These findings add some pep to our step here at NAF, as we continue to provide quality experiences to our network of more than 117,000 young people across 34 states, plus DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, and expand partnerships that will yield more opportunities. Our top priority is enabling students of all backgrounds and capabilities to participate and feel included in meaningful educational and work-based learning journeys to prepare them for their next steps in college and career.
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