September 27, 2023

Key points:

  • Students need more than skills to succeed–they need networks of people willing to help them on the path to success
  • Building students’ social capital and their networks is critical to their future success
  • See related article: How did the pandemic impact students’ social capital?

While durable skills and career-connected learning are important in setting students up for success as they enter college or the workforce, focusing on these skills alone won’t help students reach their goals, particularly in light of growing opportunity gaps.

If students are to be aware of potential career paths, they’ll need not just classroom learning and skills, but also personal and professional relationships that serve as gateways to career opportunities.

Life opportunities are often found where students’ human capital (what they know and can do) and their social capital (who they know and can depend on for support and access) meet. To start a career and achieve postsecondary success, students need more than skills—they also need people willing to take a bet on their potential.

People-Powered Pathways: Lessons in how to build students’ social capital
through career-connected learning
, a new report from the Clayton Christensen Institute, aims to help school leaders implement effective, equitable strategies for building students’ social capital, and offers field-tested considerations for piloting social capital building within existing career pathways initiatives.

Laura Ascione
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