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New Bain & Company Report Maps Out A Plan To Train And Connect Tomorrow’s Workforce With The Jobs Most Likely To Withstand Automation

January 31, 2019

NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rapid advances in technology are changing the nature of work. While many jobs are going away, good jobs are still plentiful. Yet the U.S. education system is not adequately preparing students to get and succeed in these jobs. In a new report released today, Making the Leap: How to Take the Promise of Career-Connected Learning to Scale, Bain & Company suggests that high quality career-connected learning (CCL) programs across the country have the potential to change this dynamic, and some programs are already generating great outcomes for students and employers alike.

According to the report, young people in America are being left behind in a red hot labor market. Youth unemployment rose to 9.2 percent in July of 2018, compared with an overall unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. A CCL model aligns meaningful on-the-job work experience with valuable classroom learning to produce competitive candidates, with valuable post-secondary credentials, for good jobs – defined by Bain & Company as those that sustain a family, offer relative stability from automation and are accessible to those without a bachelor’s degree.

These good, entry-level jobs are currently going unfilled, with most searches lasting nearly a month and a half on average according to a Bain & Company analysis of job postings on Burning Glass. The majority of these postings had salaries that exceeded the national living wage of $40,000 a year, and over half of the postings had a salary of $74,000 a year or higher. While these job postings are spread out among a diverse array of sectors, roughly half are from four key industries: healthcare, professional services, finance or insurance and manufacturing.

“Connecting more young people with good jobs and bright futures will require creative solutions that extend beyond simply working within the existing system,” said Chris Bierly, head of Bain & Company’s education practice and co-author of the report. “Career-connected learning can open up life-changing opportunities for the next generation of young people if scaled thoughtfully and effectively.”

For businesses, CCL programs can offer access to untapped pools of high-potential talent. This is a demonstrated need, with 46 percent of employers reporting difficulty filling jobs with qualified candidates, according to a 2016 ManPower Group survey. For students, CCL programs offer an educational foundation, a valued credential and access to readily-available stable and accessible jobs that will develop into long-term careers.

“Identifying where there is need in the labor market is key for creating a successful CCL program,” said Abigail Smith, a partner in Bain & Company’s education practice and co-author of the report. “CCL programs absolutely need to meet real employer needs. On the other hand, programs that are built solely for employers won’t create the step change in educational and societal outcomes that CCL proponents are counting on. Ensuring that programs are both market driven and student centered is critical.”

Career-connected learning becomes transformational to a community when it is designed to scale as part of a structured system. In the report, Bain & Company draws on its work with both Denver Public Schools and Washington State to provide a roadmap for scaling CCL. Scaling for success requires something new - true CCL systems that coordinate the efforts of many stakeholders: employers, K-12 and postsecondary education providers, state and local government and intermediaries who focus on workforce development.

“We believe that every young adult in Washington should have multiple pathways toward economic self-sufficiency and fulfillment,” said Maud Daudon, Executive Leader of Career Connect Washington. “Career-connected learning is a critical element of delivering on that promise. To do this at scale in Washington, we are building a comprehensive state-wide CCL system that will ultimately serve 100 percent of our students.”

A great CCL system must do four critical things well in order to thrive at scale:

1. Provide choices for students by engaging a broad set of employers in the region. These choices should focus on good jobs and compelling career pathways within industries that have a demonstrated need for a competent and skilled labor force. 2. Ensure high standards and good outcomes. Growth and sustainability of a CCL system depends on breaking the stigmas currently associated with vocational programs. Systems must show students and families that these opportunities are high quality, rigorous and will lead to both good jobs and opportunities for ongoing education. 3. Be easy to navigate for employers, to encourage participation. Here, intermediaries are key to a successful CCL program. They convene employers, identify good jobs that are in high demand, share pain points within talent pipelines and codify skills and competencies that successful employees will need in a given role. 4. Attract sustainable funding. Employers need to devote time, energy and tangible resources toward designing and offering meaningful work-based learning opportunities. Likewise, school systems need to commit to realigning their staffing structure by either employing more teachers certified to teach college-level courses or sending students to a local community college for classes. While philanthropy and nonprofit funding is invaluable for building these programs, it ultimately cannot rise to the level of support a system needs to thrive and scale long-term. This means states will have to find ways of redirecting funds toward CCL efforts, ultimately setting up their students for an array of good career choices.

“Building these programs at scale will both meet an acute employer need and provide students with multiple paths to careers and choice-filled lives” said Bierly. “Thankfully, a growing number of states are stepping up to the challenge of building the CCL systems necessary to help employers and educators bring these programs to scale.”

Editor’s Note: To arrange an interview, contact Katie Ware at katie.ware@bain.com or +1 646 562 8107

About Bain & Company Bain & Company is the management consulting firm that the world’s business leaders come to when they want results. Bain advises clients on private equity, mergers and acquisitions, operations excellence, consumer products and retail, marketing, digital transformation and strategy, technology, and advanced analytics, developing practical insights that clients act on and transferring skills that make change stick. The firm aligns its incentives with clients by linking its fees to their results. Bain clients have outperformed the stock market 4 to 1. Founded in 1973, Bain has 57 offices in 36 countries, and its deep expertise and client roster cross every industry and economic sector. For more information visit: www.bain.com. Follow us on Twitter @BainAlerts.

Media Contact:Katie WareBain & CompanyTel: +1 646 562 8107 katie.ware@bain.com

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