Modern pathways for access to fulfilling careers.

Each year, millions of young adults across the country leave their classrooms, whether it be high school or postsecondary, hoping that the knowledge they’ve gained will be enough to launch a career. At the same time, employers are revving their HR engines and getting ready to post their spring jobs to hunt for fresh, young talent.

Will the skills and competencies that the students possess be the right match for the HR team on the hunt? A better question is, how do we make sure they match? 

By getting our business community engaged, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is confident that our communities will be well equipped to transform the students of today into the innovators of tomorrow. To that end, in addition to other initiatives listed below, this year we released Quality Pathways, an employer-led approach to stronger earn and learn pathways, in partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). More than a vision, this paper provides a road map for incorporating stronger earn and learn pathways into new public-private education and workforce systems with quality assured and risk managed. 

This situation will not fix itself, and employers cannot fix it alone. We need everyone—businesses, workers, government, and our nation’s education and training providers—working together to match the available talent in this country with the fulfilling careers waiting for them. 


Our Initiatives

54% of high school juniors and seniors report that they lack the proper supports to help them match their interests to potential occupations, and 51% report that they aren’t advised on the steps to secure their desired career. for the strength of our future economy, we must be able to ensure our young people are career ready once they exit the education system. To do this, employers must take a leadership role in ensuring their communities are prioritizing career readiness.

In 2016 the U.S. Chamber Foundation released its career readiness report—Career Readiness: A Business-Led Approach for Supporting K-12 Schools. In this report, we outlined four major ways employers can more strategically engage with their communities to help ensure the next generation of workers leave the classroom ready to succeed in a career. This primer is just one example of the research paths the U.S. Chamber Foundation team is exploring to support employers as they engage with this challenge. 

  • About Making Youth Employment Work: An initiative about solving real-world business problems that help America's economy to grow, businesses to be competitive, and all students to have the opportunity for success.
  • Case Studies: National nonprofit organizations, thought leaders, and community-based programs seek opportunities to collaboratively identify and implement youth employment solutions. Our case studies are a repository of best practices and active partnerships for businesses and communities looking to build a robust youth talent pipeline.
  • Infographics: The data stories behind closing the skills gap and competing on talent in the new economy.

The strategies that we have explored so far create exciting opportunities for students while also building a prepared workforce ready for employers who desperately need workers. Check them out and contact us at for support making your effort to support your community's career readiness a reality.