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Pearson’s Connections Academy Partners with Future Business Leaders of America to Engage and Connect Middle and High Schoolers to Business and IT Careers Earlier

Partnership to offer hands-on experience, insight into growing fields and opportunities, as well as connection to collegiate and industry partners and business and IT-related competitive events.

Pearson ((FTSE: PSON.L) and its Connections Academy, the fully online public school program serving K-12 students, announced today a strategic partnership with the Future Business Leaders of America, Inc. (FBLA), the largest business career and technical student organization in the nation, to help students successfully navigate the transition from academic environments. This partnership offers Connections Academy middle and high school students real-world experiences to explore diverse careers in business and information technology (IT), providing school-to-work pathways and a head start on their professional journeys.

FBLA chapters at Connections Academy schools will provide students insight into growing fields and opportunities, as well as connections to FBLA’s 22 collegiate and 62 industry partners. Students will also receive training and mentorship through participation in the hundreds of FBLA local, state, and national competitive events, 40 percent of which are focused on technology fields.

Overall employment in business, financial and IT occupations is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 911,000 openings in business and financial occupations and 377,500 openings in IT are projected each year, on average, due to employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave the occupations permanently.

Recognizing employer demand for early talent development, FBLA helps their 220,000 members gain the leadership, communication, collaboration, and career-specific skills in business and IT that are prioritized by employers, according to Pearson’s Skills Outlook.

“When planning for life after high school, students and their parents struggle most with uncertainty, driven by lack of direction, confidence, and connections,” said Casey Welch, vice president for career in Pearson’s virtual learning division. “To bridge this learning to work gap, Pearson is committed to leveraging our unique position in the market by supporting the early career learner as they move from K-12 and into post-high school opportunities, whether they are headed to college, credentialing and trade programs, or right into the workforce.”

According to Pearson research, nearly eight out of 10 students are aware that, to be employable, they need the right skills. And while 72 percent want to know what they should do besides education to position themselves for success, 42 percent admit that they don’t even know where to start and 26 percent are concerned about making connections with those who can help them on their career journey.

“FBLA’s partnership with Pearson’s Connections Academy will allow us to bring our co-curricular leadership development and education programs to even more middle and high school students as they prepare for their future careers,” said FBLA President and CEO Alexander T. Graham. “Giving them the opportunity to develop skills like critical thinking and collaboration, as well as unmatched networking opportunities with colleges and employers, will ensure they are ready for their future.”

The partnership with FBLA is part of Connections Academy’s expanded slate of college and career readiness offerings for middle and high school students. Launched in spring 2023, the initiatives offer an innovative new tri-credit approach where courses can deliver high school credit, industry-recognized micro-credentials, and eligibility for college credit toward over 150 U.S. bachelor’s degree programs.

Students from Indiana Connections Career Academy’s FBLA chapter already have an advantage in skill development and relationship building. Earlier this year, they won 10 first-place awards in events focused on such topics as business ethics, elevator pitches, social media strategies, running effective meetings and digital citizenship. Now, they qualify to attend the National Leadership Conference this summer in Orlando where they’ll connect with other competitors and professionals in the business and IT fields they want to enter. Indiana Connections Career Academy has had an FBLA chapter since 2020. This fall, the partnership will begin scaling the adoption of FBLA chapters to Connections Academy schools that have career programming.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

Current issue of Equity & Access:


Equity & Access - Issue 28

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