Bart Hirsch Shares Research in Washington on Teen Job Skills

Bart Hirsch Shares Research in Washington on Teen Job Skills

Bart Hirsch with Nancy Deutsch at White House Summit


As part of a White House summit called “Beating the Odds: Successful Strategies from Schools and Youth Agencies That Build Ladders of Opportunity,” SESP professor Barton Hirsch shared his findings on building job skills presented in his new book, Job Skills and Minority Youth. He will again highlight this research in a webinar on April 27.

Viewers are invited to participate in the “Discussion with Bart Hirsch” webinar coordinated with the Forum for Youth Investment from 1 to 2 p.m. Central Time on April 27. This discussion follows up on a Thought Leader Series webinar that Forum for Youth Investment CEO Karen Pittman conducted with Hirsch in March when he was in Washington, D.C. During the discussion, Hirsch emphasized how to maximize the chances that minority youth from poor communities can receive a positive decision on hiring.

The daylong White House conference on March 17 was part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, coordinated by the Department of Education. The conference presented life stories of young people “beating the odds,” core principles that made a difference and “research behind the principles.” Participating in the research panel, Hirsch emphasized that “adolescence is a particularly important time in life” and noted that “the life stories demonstrated the importance of funding policy initiatives directed at adolescence.” He also commented on the value of a “strengths-based approach” that looks for assets to build upon.

Hirsch’s latest book, Job Skills and Minority Youth, provides new understanding of the best approaches for cultivating job skills that can bring teens hiring success. Highly praised by reviewers, the book reveals what can be learned from a job interview training program for high school students, developed with input from human resources professionals.

The Forum for Youth Investment received a grant to distribute Hirsch’s book to all the attendees at its annual conference last month — approximately 450 professionals and scholars in the field of youth development. The conference, called “Ready by 21,” focuses on helping young people make a successful transition into work. Forum for Youth Investment’s mission is to help leaders get young people ready for life.

Based on his book, Hirsch talked at the White House event about youth having “strengths that people didn’t expect.” In the mock interview training he studied, human resources professionals found that many youth had experience and skills that employers would greatly value. “Youth need to recognize those, and learn how to communicate about them,” he noted.

Hirsch found that a program of six interview training sessions in vocational classes doubled the hiring rate for teens, based on the results of mock interviews.

Also scheduled during Hirsch’s time in Washington, D.C., was a lunch meeting to brief youth organizations. That event was cancelled due to the emergency Metro rapid transit shutdown in Washington. His other consultations in Washington included discussions with the National Skills Coalition, the Partnership for 21st-Century Learning, and a meeting on youth employment with an adviser to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

Photo: Professor Barton Hirsch at the White House "Beating the Odds" summit with SESP alumnus Nancy Deutsch (PhD04) of the University of Virgina.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 4/6/16