2020 Jobs Report: Proving What’s Possible

Posted on

By Aimée Eubanks Davis, Founder and CEO of Braven

Braven released its 2020 Jobs Report, and our biggest graduating class of Fellows are on the path to attaining the American Promise. In 2019, nearly 340 Braven Fellows graduated from college, more than doubling the number of Braven graduates who are now working professionals. This new class of graduates is outpacing their peers nationally in strong job attainment by 22 percentage points (71% vs 49%) within six months of graduation. Additionally, 49% are already outearning their parents in their first job out of college. By comparison, Americans, on the whole, have a 50-50 chance of outearning their parents by age 30. 

Over the last 7 years, in deep collaboration with our university and employer partners, Braven has helped give nearly 2,000 students access to the tools they need to transition from school to employment. The impact of having this access to the skills, networks, experiences, and confidence necessary to launch a strong career is evident. More of our students are entering the job market strong every year.

We often get asked about Braven’s secret sauce. The answer is simple – we empower Fellows with the tools to fish as well as help create an environment in which they can fish successfully. We do this in a few ways: 

We focus on helping Fellows build both social capital AND soft skills.

Ninety-three percent of employers say that soft skills are either an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions, and 70% of professionals get hired at companies where they already have a connection according to LinkedIn. These two stats illustrate the critical and interrelated importance of both skills and social capital. 

At Braven, we equip students from humble beginnings with the skills to compete in today’s society, primarily, problem solving, teamwork, networking and communicating, self-driven leading, and operating and managing. We also help them build the relationships that will open doors during and after their course. Fellows are paired with Leadership Coaches, volunteer professionals from the workforce, who provide support and guidance throughout the course and Professional Mentors who provide weekly 1:1 mentorship to navigate the job application process after the course.

Braven empowers students to effectively tell their incredible stories.

Students from humble beginnings have overcome incredible hurdles to get to where they are. They should have tremendous confidence in their ability to run the last few miles of their academic career and make the transition to a strong job. And, yet, we see time and again that our students don’t fully see their assets. They question their worth and ability to compete in a professional workforce that often doesn’t reflect their backgrounds. 

It’s important to give this group of students the time to explore and understand their personal leadership assets, which is what Fellows do throughout the course. During the first portion of the course, known as “Design your Career,” students identify jobs that sit at the intersection of their passions, values, and skills and from that build a 10-year career roadmap. At workshops like Storytelling as Leadership, Fellows are empowered to share their personal stories in ways that highlight their assets and core values.

The Braven course provides Fellows with real-world experience.

Experience begets experience, but when you don’t have a family member or friend who can help you make connections, getting in the door can be a challenge. During the Braven Accelerator course, Fellows engage in skill-building simulations, practice, and real world experiences at companies. They also complete projects that will set them up to apply for a job or internship. 

One of these projects is a design thinking challenge – a five-week experience that allows a small cohort of Fellows to work together to develop an innovative solution to a complex, real-world problem that a Braven company partner is facing. The experience provides Fellows the opportunity to apply the problem-solving, teamwork, and presentation skills gained throughout the Braven course.

Braven partners with companies that want to be leaders in creating systemic change that advances opportunities for promising young people.

Partnerships with employers play a key role for Braven. For employers, these partnerships provide meaningful employee professional development experiences and offer early access to diverse talent, while Fellows are able to build and expand their professional networks – something that LinkedIn data has shown makes a tremendous difference in access to opportunity. 

The reality is, networks aren’t distributed evenly. Some people have an advantage accessing opportunities they want based on who they know; we call this the network gap. It’s also why our partnerships are meaningful. They help close this gap and open real doors for the next generation of leaders. This school year, we’ll have over 40 employer partners and 750 professionals committing 15,000 hours to working with Braven Fellows.

Every year, 1.2 million first-generation or low-income college students enroll in college. Yet, only 25% of these promising young people will land a quality first job or go onto graduate school. That’s nearly one million students every single year who are not on a path to maximize their potential and on the path to the American Promise. 

Braven, in deep collaboration with employer and university partners, is equipping students with the roadmaps, relationships, confidence, and tools to maximize their potential. We hope you’ll join us. Learn more about becoming a Braven employer partner here and Leadership Coach or volunteer here.