Invigorating the youthforce: Mentorship, social capital, and work-based learning

April 26, 2022

Academic achievement alone will not position our youth for economic stability or mobility. Social capital—the relationships and resources that those relationships might offer—is a critical asset paired with skill in mobilizing that asset that education systems too often overlook when supporting youth in their transition into the workforce.

In this virtual session at the ASU+GSV Summit, I spoke with four leaders in the education-to-employment space about why it’s crucial we support our students in social capital-building and what it will take to scale vital relationships and work-based learning for young people to help set them on a path to success.

  • Daquan Oliver, founder and CEO of WeThrive shared how his organization is equipping underestimated youth to own their future by squarely targeting who gets to participate in economic training and how early, and the critical role of social capital as a skill to be built.
  • Nancy Soni, founder and CEO of shared how the career navigation platform connects college students to careers, skills, and companies to ensure they have the relational assets and skills to thrive beyond college. 
  • Andrew Frishman, co-executive director of Big Picture Learning explained how his organization connects students to local internships, and why robust advisory systems for young people that focus on their interests and what they care about must be adopted at the institution level.
  • David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR, discussed the evolution of the mentoring field and the importance of integrating relationships into workforce development systems, and ways to design schools to put relationships at the center as an outcome alongside academic achievement.

Check out our conversation below:

Note: This session was generously sponsored by our partners at American Student Assistance.

Mahnaz Charania, PhD

Mahnaz is the former senior research fellow at the Christensen Institute. Her work focuses on studying disruptive innovations in K-12 and higher education that amplify equitable opportunities for students to achieve social and economic mobility. In her current role, she leverages her deep expertise in measurement and evaluation to drive innovations that expand students' social capital.

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