Connecting Low-Income Students to Good Jobs and Careers

In today’s globally competitive economy, low-income students, students of color, opportunity youth, and adult learners need education and training to secure family-sustaining jobs and careers. Since the Great Recession, the economy has added 11.6 million jobs. Ninety-nine percent of them have gone to workers with at least some college education.1 People without postsecondary credentials will have greater difficulty accessing good jobs in the future.

Millions of college students do not fit the “traditional” student profile of a full-time student transitioning directly from high school to a four-year college or university. Fifty-one percent of undergraduates are independent, 40 percent are adults age 25 or older, 27 percent work full time, and 26 percent are parents.2 These students are often juggling work and/or family obligations and need flexible schedules and high-quality education delivery systems that meet their needs.

Given these national trends, the Higher Education Act (HEA) can promote connections to work by supporting linkages to career pathways that help youth and adults with barriers to employment obtain postsecondary credentials that lead to family-sustaining jobs with the potential for career advancement. HEA also has the potential to support partnerships between higher education, the workforce system, and industry. This would help them develop training programs that teach skills and competencies demanded by employers.This fact sheet, by Rosa Garcia, states CLASP’s priorities in connecting low-income students to good jobs and careers through the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).