© 2020

Working to Learn

Disrupting the Divide Between College and Career Pathways for Young People


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Noel S. Anderson, Lisette Nieves
    Pages 23-65
  3. Noel S. Anderson, Lisette Nieves
    Pages 131-153
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 155-164

About this book


This book disrupts the false dichotomy of college versus career by showing how young people and the programs created to serve them integrate the worlds of college and career readiness as students work to learn against the odds and strive toward lives that matter to them. Work-based learning at each stage of the K–college experience is crucial to the development of young people. Through analysis of national policies on college readiness and work-based learning, as well as through illustrative case studies of young people in work-based learning programs, the authors highlight the programs, voices, and experiences of young people from middle school through college. Through interviews, participating students share their views, aspirations, and preparation for both college and career.


College-for-all school-to-work youth labor markets career readiness college access Community college

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Administration, Leadership and TechnologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Administration, Leadership and TechnologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

About the authors

Noel S. Anderson is Clinical Full Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Chairperson of the Administration, Leadership, and Technology Department in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, USA.

Lisette Nieves is Clinical Full Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Director of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, USA.

Bibliographic information


“Anderson and Nieves have given us an exceptional panoply of insights, exemplars, and strategies for closing the great divide between schooling and work that has negatively impacted America’s talent pipeline, prosperity, and global competitiveness for decades. They offer communities and states a new vision and plan for integrating K-12, college, career, and community pathways for youth and adults. They demonstrate the benefits and outcomes of connecting public and private sector leaders, braiding resources, and realigning education, training, and workplace learning to give Americans the competencies and qualifications for opportunity and advancement in their lives. Their rigorous scholarship linked to the real-life experiences of students, companies, and communities provide thoughtful, well-documented solutions for our nation to realize the long-term benefits of a well-educated, diverse, innovative, relevant, and vibrant workforce for the decades ahead of us. This book is a must-read for those who wring their hands about the future of education and work in America.”
Martha Kanter, Executive Director, College Promise Campaign, USA, and former U.S. Under Secretary of Education (2009-2013)

 “We’ve long believed in the mantra, ‘first you learn, then you work.’ But in Working to Learn, Anderson and Nieves make the compelling case for a new, more integrated ecosystem of working and learning, one where both society and the learners share in the benefits of a lifetime of learning and working experiences. This book makes important contributions to our urgent national dialogue about reconciling the false dichotomy between work and learning in an era where continuous working and learning is an imperative.”
Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation, USA

“Anderson and Nieves deepen our understanding of work-based learning—from students who must juggle school and jobs to formal apprenticeship programs—by introducing us to real people who are blending work and learning.  With the historical and policy context, and a focus on the critical role of race and ethnicity, this text should be required reading for anyone who wants to reimagine the work-and-learning ecosystem of the future.”
Maria Flynn, President and CEO, Jobs for the Future, USA