According to a report released in 2018 from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (Striving To Be Top Tier for Talent), more than half of Kentucky employers are struggling to find workers with the skills they need. With an increasingly globalized economy, businesses are often no longer bound by geography and can gravitate to locations with educated and skilled workforces ready to start on day one. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this movement. States are struggling to align education, workforce development and business partners in order to create more seamless transitions to ensure the future workforce is prepared. One sector too often overlooked in this effort is the afterschool sector. Afterschool and summer learning programs provide essential services that help to supplement the work of schools so students are ready to face the future with confidence.
Afterschool and summer learning programs can help to address many of the shortcomings in our current workforce preparation systems:
- Lower than average scores in academic proficiency including benchmarks such as kindergarten readiness, 3rd grade reading and 8th grade math
- Persistent achievement gaps among historically underserved student populations
- Work-based learning programs that can only engage a small percentage of high school students
- Workers without a high school diploma or GED
- Higher rates of incarceration and poor health
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Career & Technical Education Factsheet – to address the nation’s skills gap and prepare our emerging workforce for the changing economy, young people need access to expanded learning opportunities made possible by afterschool and summer learning programs.