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American Student Assistance Expands its Free Suite of Digital Experiences That Help Teens Make Informed, Confident Decisions About Post-High School Education and Career Pathways
New EvolveMe™ mobile experience prepares youth for their own career journey by incentivizing them to explore, experiment, and take actions via tasks that advance career interests through transferable skills development, mentorships, and work-based learning opportunities
SAN DIEGO, April 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Kids today do not feel adequately prepared to make informed, confident decisions about what they want to do after high school. Research shows that more than 65 percent of students feel they would have benefited from more career exploration in middle or high school. To provide invaluable experiences and opportunities that improve career readiness outcomes for middle and high schoolers, American Student Assistance® (ASA) – a national nonprofit changing the way kids learn about careers and navigate a path to postsecondary education and career success – today announced the expansion of its free suite of digital student-led career readiness experiences. They are designed to help kids gain awareness of education pathways and career possibilities that match their interests, increase access to valuable skill sets, and give them the confidence they need to navigate a path to success after high school.
EvolveMe™, the newest addition to ASA’s suite of mobile experiences, was co-created with a nationwide panel of middle and high school teen advisors who provided feedback on design, site features and functionality, UX, and naming, along with quantitative validation based on feedback from over 4,600 additional young people. The platform helps kids (ages 13-18) prepare for their own career journey to more rewarding careers by incentivizing them to explore, experiment, and take the actions by completing tasks that advance their career interests. To ensure a constantly expanding set of rich, diverse, and value-adding digital resources, ASA is partnering with innovative, mission-aligned companies to provide users with high-quality career-focused tasks.
“Many students are negatively impacted by inequitable access to the tools, information, and experiences needed to plan for the future,” said Clay Colarusso, CMO and SVP of Digital Strategy at ASA. “ASA has taken the lead in creating a robust, dynamic, free, digital ecosystem of experiences where students can explore, on their own terms, unlimited career possibilities and access the right information at the right time in their journey through middle and high school, so they are prepared to make an informed, confident decision about what to do upon high school graduation.”
The EvolveMe platform features 26 career experimentation and skills-building activities and 79 sub-tasks from 15 innovative partners that serve millions of teens. These partners include:
- DeBruce Foundation’s Agile Work Profiler, which helps kids understand their own strengths and interests and how they relate to careers,
- UStrive, which enables teens to sign up, find, and meet with a mentor,
- Tyto/Immersed Games, which offers five games across in-demand issues where kids can build knowledge and skills and try on jobs,
- Talk Hiring, which helps kids learn to interview with confidence by doing realistic yet automated mock interviews and getting instant feedback,
- Create & Learn, which helps young people to learn Scratch and Python coding through online courses with real professionals, practice core coding concepts, and build an impressive project,
- Work Simplr, a platform that breaks real-world deliverables down into projects for kids to complete and earn money,
- Science Near Me, which allows youth to search for activities and experiences in science,
- CareerVillage, an online platform democratizing access to career information and advice by providing a supportive community of real professionals ready to answer any question about any career,
- Skillsline, a platform that teaches durable human skills, with the goal of giving every student the tools they need to navigate the complexities of the modern world — in school, at work, and in life,
- ProjectSet, an online platform for virtual work-based learning opportunities that help kids and university students to develop workplace skills and become career ready,
- Bloom Learning/Ender, which is on a mission to make kids employable before they graduate high school by building a competition platform where they win prizes by completing projects and gaining skills,
- School of Thought, which is a nonprofit dedicated to teaching critical thinking and reasoning skills,
- FitMoney, which provides a free certificate course that allows kids to build knowledge and confidence around financial literacy topics,
- Aha Media, which connects teens and emerging talent to immersive virtual internships in animation production from the comfort of their own communities,
- Cirkled In, a modern, engaging, Gen-Z-focused professional profile platform that empowers K-16 students to showcase their holistic achievements, strengths, and talents, connecting them to their best-fit educational and employment opportunities, from college and scholarships to jobs and internships.
“The EvolveMe platform combines important career resources from a variety of entities, and it is our privilege for the Agile Work Profiler to be included in this experience,” said Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of The DeBruce Foundation. “Students using this platform are taking important steps in building bright future careers. More than 1,000 students have completed the Agile Work Profiler to date through the EvolveMe platform.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with ASA in supporting teens who want to learn the durable human skills that will enable their success in the future,” said Courtney Reilly, Co-Founder, Skillsline. “Since launch, we’ve seen that 80 percent of teens complete Skillsline activities that they start on EvolveMe, and 40 percent of those who do complete, go on to explore and interact with other Skills line topics and lessons outside of the EvolveMe platform. It really demonstrates how hungry Gen Z is for access to this type of learning content.”
“When I sat down to start coding up Talk Hiring’s mock interviewing tool in 2018, I expected that our users would be adult job seekers. But, almost immediately after launch, we started seeing lots of high schoolers doing mock interviews on the platform, and these days, we serve more youth than adults,” said Harris Osserman, Founder and CEO, Talk Hiring. “In hindsight, it all makes sense, as 77 percent of US high schoolers take at least one career-focused course and these students outearn those who don’t. Our realistic yet automated mock interviewing tool has been able to support tens of thousands of students as they step into the real world. Through our collaboration with ASA, we are excited about the opportunity to engage many more young people and make a measurable difference in their career readiness journey.”
The EvolveMe platform enables teens to discover high-quality, credible career experimentation activities including virtual work-based learning opportunities, mock job interviews, and mentorships, complete tasks, and develop transferable skills they can apply to any job. Then, they can earn, collect, and redeem points for rewards. Teens are rewarded for completing tasks under the categories of Life Skills, Experimenting with Jobs, Building Your Network, and Career Quizzes. These tasks involve activities, such as watching videos and taking quizzes, playing games, and completing mini-lessons or quests. For tasks completed, teens can earn points to redeem gift cards to their favorite retail, restaurant, and entertainment brands. They can also track their progress and accomplishments through fun and dynamic visuals with the platform. For instance, they can see their personal tree grow as it sprouts unique flowers and creatures each time they complete an activity.
ASA’s free suite of digital experiences, which engaged and impacted more than 12 million teens in 2022, also includes Future Network™, a series of original videos that spans five categories and follows Gen Z as they explore and learn about different careers from industry professionals; Futurescape®, a mobile-first experience that enables career exploration aligned with teens’ interests; and Next VoiceTM, a digital youth advocacy platform that empowers kids with the durable skills they need to effectively make change for the issues and causes that impact their futures.
About American Student Assistance® (ASA)
American Student Assistance® (ASA) is a national nonprofit changing the way kids learn about careers and navigate a path to postsecondary education and career success. ASA believes all students should have equitable access to career readiness learning, starting in middle school, so they will be equipped to make informed, confident decisions about their futures. ASA fulfills its mission by providing free digital-first experiences, including Futurescape® and Next Voice™, and EvolveMe™, directly to millions of students, and through impact investing and philanthropic support for educators, intermediaries, and others. To learn more about ASA, visit www.asa.org/about-asa.
SOURCE American Student Assistance (ASA)