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Balancing Work and Learning: IMPLICATIONS FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS

Center on Education and the Workforce / August 2018


Balancing Learning and Work

Go to school. Be financially responsible. Work hard. These are the tenets we teach our children about the responsible pursuit of the American Dream. Yet for some of the hardest-working students from low-income families, following these tenets has not led to the success they have been promised. These low-income working learners are going to school more and working more hours, yet struggling to make it. They have been failed by

  • an education system that perpetuates intergenerational inequality;
  • a labor market that offers them fewer high-quality job opportunities with career-building work experience while they are in school;
  • skyrocketing college prices that make it practically impossible to work one’s way throughvcollege anymore;
  • poor information about education and career pathways and their outcomes;
  • and a lack of sufficient support mechanisms and financial and social safety nets.

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