Working Learners are Majority of Today’s Students

Posted: November 18th, 2015

Reflective vestsWashington, DC (October 28, 2015) – A new report, “Learning While Earning: The New Normal,” by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, indicates that most students are working learners, “students who balance learning in college with earning a paycheck” and account for nearly 14 million and approximately 70%-80% of college students. And, in the words of the working learners featured in the report, finding it difficult to navigate and juggle the structures and demands of employment and post-secondary institutions that have not adapted to these changing demographics and needs of today’s working learners. In addition to the magnitude of the number and percentage of working learners, findings in the report reveal that more working learners are working full-time, low-income working learners are most disadvantaged by working and learning, and working and learning is better than working full-time after high school. The report also illuminates the benefits of being a working learner including gaining work experience, making career connections, forming good work habits, lessening student debt, and being more upwardly mobile and career agile after graduating, which is increasingly critical for success in a rapidly changing labor market adjusting to global conditions and technological advances. Working learners are also more likely to advance into managerial positions.

The report illuminates the critical need for, and substantiates ACT Foundation’s efforts to catalyze, a national learning economy where next generation work-and-learn options are readily available to support working learners in pursuit of education and career success and greater quality of life. ACT Foundation is proud to have contributed to the sponsorship of this research, including providing insight into the lives and experiences of today’s working learners through our Working Learner Advisory Council.