Mentoring as a Tool for Connecting Disconnected Youth to Education & Employment
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CitationFlaxman, Laura Ann. 2015. Mentoring as a Tool for Connecting Disconnected Youth to Education & Employment. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractToo many young people are not on meaningful college or career pathways at a time when the workforce increasingly demands a higher level of education and skills. While a lack of education is a major barrier to employment, there are not enough alternatives to the one-size-fits-all high school to college trajectory that leaves 60% of Americans without any kind of college degree (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). It is extremely difficult to get back on that pathway after leaving school, with the major barriers being finances, a lack of relevance/un-engaging coursework, and poor or nonexistent advising. The Innovation College Network was created to address these issues, developing a new higher education model that blends workforce development, education, and employment with intensive mentoring and support for young people between the ages of 16 and 26.
This capstone describes a pilot of the Innovation College Network, which included nine young people ranging in age from 18 to 30 who were not in school at the start of their engagement with the program. They received ongoing one-on-one mentoring focused on helping them identify and pursue educational and career goals. All nine showed some movement toward their goals, with three reenrolling in school, and the majority reporting that the mentoring was beneficial. For these older youth, mentoring appears to be an effective strategy, particularly when the relationships are centered on active listening with the purpose of fostering self-awareness, motivation, values, a support network, and living an integrated life. These five areas are the building blocks of authentic leadership development (George, 2007).
Implications include the potential and importance of prioritizing older youth, of building mentoring relationships into existing educational programs, of creating new alternative higher education models, of bridging the gaps between education and the workforce, and of taking a more holistic approach to education at all levels.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:16645015
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