Beyond the Classroom

Strategies for Integrating the Worlds of Work and School

More than 5.5 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither in school nor employed. Millions more are working low-wage, dead-end jobs and are disconnected from opportunities to develop their skills. Often referred to as “opportunity youth”, these young people are at risk of becoming permanently disconnected from education and employment at a critical time in their lives. Over a lifetime, opportunity youth earn about half as much as their peers who graduate high school and are acutely vulnerable to economic downturns. Strategies for helping young people stay connected to school or work are essential for ensuring their—and our country’s—success.

Work-based learning models like apprenticeship, structured internships, and cooperative education can help young people stay engaged with the worlds of school and work. Please join us on the afternoon of December 7th for the release of a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that explores strategies for building effective work-based learning systems. Commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, Work-based learning for youth at risk: Getting employers on board, draws on the OECD’s extensive international research to identify best practices in work-based learning and strategies for overcoming one of the key challenges to scaling—engaging employers. Dr. Andreas Schleicher, who leads the Directorate of Education and Skills at the OECD, will present the report’s key findings, including international comparisons and policy lessons. We will also hear from leaders from the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor, along with a number of policy experts, on the implications of the reports findings for future policy and practice.


Nneka Jenkins Thompson
Senior Manager, Center of Education and Skills, New America

Opening Remarks

Johan Uvin
Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education

Presentation of Key Findings

Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD

Panel Discussion


Crystal Bridgeman
Senior Director, Workforce Development Programs, Siemens Foundation

Thaddeus Ferber
Vice President, Policy Advocacy, The Forum for Youth Investment

Angela Hanks
Associate Director, Workforce Development Policy, Center for American Progress

Cassius Johnson
Senior Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Year Up


Mary Alice McCarthy
Director, Center on Education and Skills, New America

Closing Remarks:

Portia Wu (Invited)
Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor