Highlights the need for young workers to gain experience on the job and uses case studies to highlight promising approaches of businesses employing youth.

“This brief is intended to allay concerns about perceived barriers to young people’s access to workplaces and to highlight the successes of employers who have opened their doors to high school students. It explains how some employers have benefitted from working with young people and provides an overview of the laws and policy barriers most often cited by employers as impediments to work experience for high school students. The brief profiles some employers within the Pathways to Prosperity Network who have found ways to provide young people with meaningful work experience. These case studies highlight the ways that these employers have managed the logistics of work-based learning and explain the benefits of doing so. As these case studies demonstrate, investing in young people is something that all employers can do if they so choose” (p.2).

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Many of the strategies adopted by the organizations profiled in this brief are accessible to other employers interested in working with young people. While the construction of the 12 for Life facility has paid off for Southwire, a similar strategy may not be practical for all employers. But, it is not necessary to take such a big step. Numerous other strategies are available to employers seeking to make their workplaces accessible to young people. Almost any employer can easily adopt strategies such as starting small to build buy-in and asking students and parents to sign liability waivers. These strategies can be tailored to reflect the needs of a particular industry or employer. The case studies in this brief demonstrate that perceived barriers to workplace access for students under 18 are far from insurmountable. While each business profiled here has taken a different approach to work-based learning, these employers share an understanding of the critical need to provide opportunities for young people in their communities. They are also unified in their decision to overcome the initial hurdle of simply expanding the notion of who belongs in their workforce and making space for youth. Employers can open their doors to young people—it is a matter of choosing to do so. Collaborations among businesses, educational institutions, and intermediary organizations can successfully address common concerns and challenges and create opportunities to scale up work-based learning. Doing so will benefit both employers and young people” (p. 20). (Abstractor: Author)