Strada collaborates with students, policymakers, educators, and employers across the U.S. to strengthen the link between education and opportunity.
We prioritize policies, practices, and programs that help ensure postsecondary education provides equitable pathways to opportunity.
We advance our mission through research, grantmaking, social impact investments, public policy solutions, Strada-supported nonprofit organizations, and strategic initiatives.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the global economy, forcing millions of Americans from their schools and workplaces, our most vulnerable citizens were struggling to achieve the economic and social mobility promised by our education system.
Huge numbers of undergraduates—disproportionately from low-income and minority communities—start college but don’t make it to graduation, missing out on the benefits that come with degree completion. Even those who do earn degrees may find themselves ill-prepared for a fast-changing labor market—a disconnect often noted by employers but too seldom recognized by educators.
Worse yet, millions more working adults don’t have a foothold in the postsecondary system at all. Most at risk are low-income, Latino, Black, and Native American learners and workers—those who, for decades, have been disproportionately disadvantaged in our economy and under-represented on our college campuses.
In short, we have failed to prepare enough Americans for “the future of work.” And that future is now upon us.
Strada Education Network’s Public Viewpoint survey, as well as data from education and workforce experts around the country, indicates that even once the pandemic is under control, millions of Americans will be unable to return to the jobs they’ve lost—or in some cases, even to the industries where they have built their careers.
As in past economic downturns, many Americans see education as a crucial tool in their recovery. Increasingly, however, many people are seeking faster and less-expensive pathways to developing skills that will help them get ahead in the labor market. The college path, while often valuable, serves only one-third of Americans, even in the best of times. Our country’s education system will now require much greater capacity—and more varied providers and options—to meet the needs of all learners.
It’s time to do things differently.
Even before the pandemic, Strada Education Network had proposed the creation of a new learning ecosystem that would enable all Americans to transition seamlessly between education and employment throughout their careers, whether they seek traditional college degrees or earn certificates or credentials through non-traditional providers, online programs, or on-the-job training. That fluidity between learning and earning is key, not only to helping individuals and families progress, but to improving workforce development and facilitating long-term economic growth.
Clearly, the pandemic presents enormous challenges to our already strained education and workforce ecosystem. We believe it also presents an opportunity—and a mandate—for state policymakers to collaborate with forward-thinking educators, employers, community organizations and funders—not to replicate the same underperforming system we have now, but to mobilize and create many new pathways in a new learning ecosystem.
We offer the following blueprint as a guide to reenvisioning how we can transform our postsecondary education and workforce system to address the critical needs of learners and workers, communities, and our economy as we recover from the events of 2020. The six key elements of this blueprint are devised from listening to education consumers—past, current, and prospective students—as well as policymakers, educators, employers, and philanthropic leaders, and from learning about reforms already being advanced that show promise to scale across the country.
A call to action
At Strada Education Network, we believe that by convening and mobilizing educators, employers, policymakers, workforce experts, and community supporters, we can leverage real-time data and the best minds in states and communities to identify and fill gaps between in-demand job skills and the education and training that will help job seekers obtain those skills.
The future of work is here. The time to prepare all Americans is now.
To move from vision to action, Strada is interested in partnering with states and communities to plan and build a new learning ecosystem.
Through Recovery Incubator Grants, we will support select states that:
Building a new learning ecosystem that works for all Americans and for our economy will not be easy. It will require a willingness to think differently, to work hard, and to commit time, energy, and resources. Most importantly, it will require intensive collaboration and information sharing, within and among states. But with millions of Americans and the health of our nation’s economy at stake, we cannot wait to act.
We have the blueprint. Let’s start building today.
At Strada Education Network, our mission is to improve lives by forging clearer and more purposeful pathways between education and employment. We marshall research, funding, and guidance to transform America’s education-to-workforce system to better serve learners and earners throughout their careers. We invest in and partner with states, education providers, employers, community organizations, and innovative companies to build an education system that works for all.
To learn more about Strada and our mission-aligned affiliates, please explore the resources below and visit stradaeducation.org.
Report: New Learning Ecosystem
Public Viewpoint Survey
Video: Adult learners
Lessons Earned Podcast (interviews with innovators in education and the workforce):
More Research and Insights:
Strada Institute for the Future of Work
Strada Center for Education Consumer Insights
‘Colleges and universities, states, and our country can do more to help prepare students for the critical transition from college to the labor market.’
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The gift of time. A recognition of talent. A helping hand. How our mentors helped shape us as people and professionals.
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Innovative leader brings an extensive track record of navigating through challenges to create effective education-to-employment data systems
Seasoned postsecondary education policy leader to oversee nonprofit organization’s advocacy work with state and federal policymaker
Three-year grants awarded to four institutions will support expansion of programs designed to help learners succeed during and after completion of their degree or credential. These programs deploy a broad range of strategies from new technology solutions to embedded, industry-recognized credentials, which will be made available to thousands of new learners through these grants.
Veteran corporate leader brings diverse range of experience to guide Strada’s legal team and serve organization’s Board of Trustees
Two-year grants will support proven partnerships that connect learners to education and in-demand employment opportunities and strengthen regional economies.
At a time of growing societal uncertainty about the value of higher education and declining enrollment, the views of alumni turn out to be particularly insightful. This group can provide especially valuable feedback about how their education experiences have enriched their lives, which can help us ensure that today’s students maximize all the benefits that college offers.
A rich mixture of skills gained in college improves post-completion outcomes for graduates
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National Workforce Development Leader to Head Social Impact Organization’s Strategy and Innovation Team
A 12-week internship for individuals who are bold, curious, motivated team players — and passionate about advancing equity.
Amid all of this disruption, the number of U.S. workers leaving or changing their jobs sharply increased. Known variously as the Great Resignation, Reshuffle, or Realignment, the trend has been cast in the cultural imagination as a collective desire on the part of the American workforce for more rewarding or meaningful work.
New Study from Strada Education Network Reveals a Silver Lining at a Challenging Time
Delaware State sophomore accounting major eyes and a different career path after viewing a wealth of options.
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As a natural leader, student embraces opportunities to work in her field and build campus community
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Strada Education Network is pleased to celebrate the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City.
Over the past 80 years, our nation has made great strides in improving access to college, and then ensuring that many more students could complete a college degree.
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Phase 2 allows Taskforce members to seek up to $1.5 million ($6.25 million total) to expand efforts to connect education to employment.
Higher education’s measurement of student success is in the midst of an evolution. For nearly five decades, success efforts focused on access, then two decades with completion as the horizon for success, and now the focus is extending to student outcomes beyond completion.
At the innovative Rochester campus of the University of Minnesota, our vision is to “inspire transformation in higher education through innovations that empower graduates to solve the grand health challenges of the 21st century.”
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Access to college isn’t enough. Neither is completion of degrees. It’s time to focus on outcomes
When Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott became president of Chicago State University in 2018, things were in pretty dire straits: The state budget had been slashed, operations rolled back, and the university had gone years without permanent leadership.
Credit for prior learning helped Loyce Shelley see herself in a new way — and complete her degree.
Applied connections between education and work are increasingly a part of undergraduate education in the United States.
Millie Garcia understands the needs of first-generation college students because she was one. Now, as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Millie advocates for students just like herself — a group she calls “the new majority” (low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color). She shares what she’s learned about the importance of diversifying higher ed, from students and faculty to the highest leadership positions on campus.
Disparities in securing paid internships persist for women, people of color, first-generation college students, and students with low incomes — even when taking into account their fields of study
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