Giving Compass' Take:

Julia Freeland Fisher describes why students need social capital in order to advance their careers and offers potential innovative pathways that will help students achieve their goals.

Fisher believes in using tech to connect students to more opportunities. How will future advancements in AI and networking platforms affect how students increase their social capital?

Read about how disadvantaged students can build social capital in order to succeed.

It’s all about who you know. Social capital often determines where a young person goes to school, the work experiences they gain, what jobs are available, and how quickly careers advance.

For two decades, education reform has been preoccupied with model enhancements toward academic improvements that social capital has been neglected as a key outcome of youth development. In the meantime, social connections have become more important than ever but less available to students growing up in mobile low-income families.

In her new book, Who You Know, Julia Freeland Fisher makes the case that the “structures, tools, and institutional designs that could start to double down on relationships inside of school and take the chance out of students’ chance encounters beyond school.”

She learned that over half of all job placements result from a personal connection—and that schools just aren’t set up to influence this critical success factor. Schools may be social, but most are insular.

Fisher also observed that an enrichment gap compounds the achievement gap. And, that with a rich array of travel and experiences often comes with a rich set of connections that yield long-term benefits.

Fisher sees potential in three types of innovations:

  • Fully virtual
  • Online connecting offline
  • Integrated student supports

Read the full article about social capital at Getting Smart