education case study report
April 25, 2017

Purposeful Partners: Private Sector Solutions to Preparing the Workforce of Tomorrow

The Business Case for Supporting the Personal and Professional Development of Today’s Youth and Tomorrow’s Employees

By Alexa Miller, Coordinator, Issue Networks, Corporate Citizenship Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

In an increasingly global economy, we must learn constantly through observation, experience, inquiry, and interpretation. This pursuit not only drives innovation and efficiency in institutions and economies, it develops the minds of individuals—young and old—who can challenge us to open our minds to new possibilities, markets, relationships, and experiences. To that extent, a commitment to continued learning is a responsibility, an integral strategy to safeguard business continuity as it relates to long-term competitiveness, tolerance, and social progress.

American companies, state and federal governments, and nonprofit organizations provide billions of dollars for K-12 educational programs each year. In spite of those resources; poverty, violence, and a lack of access to formal career pathways hinders an increasing number of American students’ personal and educational development. As the achievement and skills gap compounds and widens, it ultimately lowers productivity, hinders innovation, and stifles economic growth.

The achievement and skills gap not only hinders employment opportunities, it also disenfranchises students. As reported by EY, 5.6 million of today’s American youth, ages 16-24, feel disconnected from education and work. As employers, community members, and peers, we must understand the immediate and long-term effects of the achievement gap—and how the private sector can help reverse this trend.

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center, we believe that business is part of the solution to closing the skills and achievement gaps and filling the jobs that will drive economic growth. Our goal is to showcase how businesses are taking a leadership role in advancing student successes throughout various stages of individuals’ personal and educational development. Examples in this report include:

  • Pearson: Creating innovative solutions to help improve the delivery of education for Syrian refugees and youth living in emergency and conflict-affected areas.
  • PBS: Inspiring children ages 5-8 to become makers instead of consumers of media through the development of a mobile application that teaches them to create stories, games, and animations with code.
  • The Dow Chemical Company: Generating awareness around interest in exploring career opportunities in manufacturing and other STEM career options through employee engagement and providing hands-on experiences in the field.
  • Hilton: Developing the future talent pipeline by preparing young people with the life-skills and technical expertise needed for meaningful careers in the hospitality industry.
  • Discovery Education: Tackling the nationwide opioid epidemic through educating students, teachers, and parents about the science behind addiction, the dangers of drug abuse, making informed choices when prescribed or presented with an opportunity to experiment with opioids.

Many more companies have also evolved their corporate citizenship investments to include greater access to innovative technologies, holistic implementation strategies, and life-long skills to deliver more meaningful outcomes for their community and stakeholders.

We hope this report provides fresh ideas for how your company can use its financial and human resources to empower and inspire individuals—from students to career professionals—to reach their full potential. Access to education is imperative to the strength of our communities and economy—and the business community has an opportunity to make a profound difference.

Chapter One: Early Childhood Education

Chapter Two: Employee Engagement

Chapter 3: Access Through Technology

Chapter 4: STEM Education

Chapter 5: Important Lessons for Lifelong Learners

Chapter 6: Reaching Students Around the World

Chapter 7: Creating Pathways to College and Careers