Dedicated to equipping all students with the knowledge, skill, and competence to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow.

Globally, U.S. students rank 17th in literacy, 21st in science, and 26th in math. Today’s K–12 education system is complex, and that complexity often leads to students underprepared for the career ahead of them. Our participation in this national conversation involves promoting programs and policies that work to close academic achievement gaps, supporting effective teachers, and providing the education community with the resources and tools necessary to address the education challenges of today and tomorrow.

 

The Importance of Soft Skills

Despite U.S. high school graduation rates reaching all-time highs, many employers are finding that recent graduates are unprepared to succeed in the workforce because they lack foundational “soft skills.” While technical skills are often industry-specific, soft skills such as professional communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and time management are valued by employers across sectors. The importance of these skills is widely acknowledged; yet, they are not taught with consistency or given prioritization.

Closing the gap between the soft skills employers require in their workforce and those that students leave school with is essential. This can and should be achieved through collaboration between business and education at the local level.

Bridging the Soft Skills Gap (2017) makes the case for partnerships between the business and education sectors and outlines strategies already being used successfully across the country. It offers practical recommendations for businesses seeking to make an impact and profiles five successful partnerships established by Nike, Ernst & Young, Wegmans, Wynn Las Vegas and the Northern Kentucky Education Council. 

Download the report, and encourage the curriculum in your community. 

STEM Scholars

While today’s teens are surrounded by technology, there is a major shortage of students pursuing academic and career paths in STEM related fields. In fact, data demonstrates that U.S. students are falling behind their global peers when it comes to both the technical skills they are developing and their likelihood to pursue a career in STEM. The industries that will power our economy require a workforce skilled in STEM disciplines. 

If the U.S. is to be a leader in the STEM fields, it must produce approximately one million more workers in those fields over the next decade.

The U.S. Chamber Foundation partners with EverFi, an education technology company that brings critical skills to students across the United States and Canada, to carry out the STEM Scholars program. This program allows the teacher to choose the appripriate curriculum to bring advanced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to middle and high schools at no cost to the schools. STEM Scholars is a unique digital course that uses online gaming and simulations to teach critical technology, math, and coding skills, and expose students to STEM career opportunities that they might never have dreamed were within their reach. 

  • Endeavor Curriculum: STEM Career Exploration, recommended grade level 6-9
  • Radius Curriculum: STEM Readiness, recommended grade level 6-10
  • Ignition Curriculum: Digital Literacy & Responsibility, recommended grade level 6-9

The goal of this partnership is to allow the U.S. Chamber’s members, as well as state and local Chambers, to drive grassroots education innovation into their local communities at scale. We look forward to sharing with you our impact report, highlighting the program as it was implemented in our 33 sponsored schools across the U.S. this year, scheduled to be released at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. 

Launch My Career

Developed in partnership with the American Institutes for Research, Gallup Inc., and USA Funds, Launch My Career is an interactive web tool (currently for ColoradoTennessee, and Texas) that provides students with information about the return on investment in a certificate or degree from public postsecondary schools, including technical schools and community colleges.

The purpose of the tool is to measure college value to help students and their families, policymakers, and postsecondary institutions make more informed decisions about the training and skills that provide the greatest value to students and their communities. To get an idea about how the tool works, try it out. If you're looking for more information, visit the Launch My Career webpage