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Helping Teens to Acquire the Skills They Need to Prepare for Their Futures

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Blog by Lee Waldvogel, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at American Student Assistance (ASA)

The landscape of youth career readiness is shifting, and American Student Assistance (ASA) – a national nonprofit changing the way kids learn about careers and prepare for their futures – is leading the charge, putting teens behind the wheel of their own exploration and experimentation. Forget rote memorization and one-size-fits-all assessments – ASA is all about listening to students’ voices and building resources that empower them to navigate their futures with confidence.

This user-centric approach is rooted in a deep data-driven understanding of our audience, middle and high school students. ASA’s research paints a clear picture: over 65% of students feel they would have benefited from more career exploration in middle or high school, and less than half said they had enough information to decide what post-secondary pathway was best for them. This call to action from students is at the heart of everything ASA does–and it’s on us, as caring adults, to ensure that we’re providing kids with the resources they need to build essential skills, discover potential career options that align with their interests, and illuminate the many pathways available to attaining them.

EvolveMe™: A Digital Playground for Career Discovery

Enter EvolveMe, ASA’s award-winning digital experience designed with and for students. Think beyond static screens and dry information overload. EvolveMe is a vibrant hub of over 120 interactive exercises, career quizzes, and skill-building activities, all accessible for free anytime, anywhere.

“Career-focused learning in the classroom can be challenging, now more than ever, during this era of pandemic-related learning loss,” said Clay Colarusso, CMO and SVP of Digital Strategy at ASA. “At ASA, we believe that student-led, digital experiences beyond the classroom are the best way to scale equitable access and give millions of kids agency in the decisions that will ultimately impact their futures.”

Launched in April 2023, EvolveMe has already reached over a million users outside the classroom, a testament to its engaging approach.

But EvolveMe’s success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Powerful partnerships fuel the platform’s richness and diversity. A prime example is ASA’s collaboration with The DeBruce Foundation, whose Agile Work Profiler adds a transformative layer to the experience.

Agile Work Profiler©: Cracking the Code of Career Fulfillment

While building diverse skills is crucial, translating them into concrete career paths can be a daunting task for young people. This is where the Agile Work Profiler comes in. This innovative tool delves into the unique “Agilities ©” of each student – their natural talents and strengths that hold the key to fulfilling careers. It’s like a personalized career decoder ring, helping teens understand how their skills map onto exciting possibilities in the workforce.

The results speak for themselves. Over 15,000 students have already embraced the Agile Work Profiler within EvolveMe, using it to bridge the gap between their skill-sets and fulfilling career paths. It’s not just about numbers; it’s about empowering teens with the self-awareness and confidence to chart their own course, knowing their unique strengths are valuable assets in the ever-evolving job market.

“The EvolveMe™ platform combines important career resources from a variety of entities, and it is our privilege to be included in this experience. Students using this platform are taking important steps in building bright future careers,” said Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of The DeBruce Foundation. With the vast majority of learners in middle and high school–74%–eager to learn skills that prepare them for jobs that will be in-demand in the future, it’s critical that we give them space to connect their own aptitudes and interests to the careers of tomorrow. The Agile Work Profiler within EvolveMe provides a fun and deeply engaging way to accomplish this.

Beyond Platforms: Building an Ecosystem for Success

EvolveMe and the Agile Work Profiler are just the tip of the iceberg. ASA’s commitment to user-centric career exploration extends far beyond individual experiences. ASA actively fosters a collaborative ecosystem, partnering with leading organizations and individuals who share their vision of an empowered future for every student.

This ecosystem resembles a vibrant marketplace of ideas, where diverse voices contribute to a rich tapestry of career resources. From educational experts to industry leaders, each partner brings a unique perspective to the table, ensuring that EvolveMe and other ASA initiatives remain relevant, responsive, and aligned with students’ ever-evolving needs.

This collaborative spirit is the backbone of ASA’s success. By harnessing the power of student voices, cutting-edge technology, and strategic partnerships, ASA is revolutionizing the landscape of career readiness. It’s not just about platforms and tools; it’s about building experiences where every student feels heard, empowered, and equipped to navigate the exciting, and sometimes challenging, road to their future.

Join ASA and The DeBruce Foundation on this transformative journey. Be a part of the movement that’s giving teens agency in planning for their futures. When we invest in their voices, we invest in a future where every student has a plan for their future.

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