New Book “Teach to Work” seeks to bridge education-business gap through mentoring

by Patty Alper

Mentoring transforms lives. I have learned this firsthand through the eyes of six hundred inner city students I have had the privilege of mentoring over the last fifteen years. In Teach to Work, I will show how you can improve the lives of high school, community college, or university students, while simultaneously enhancing your own.

I propose we close the chasm between the worlds of business and education. A breakdown exists between the preparation students receive in America’s schools and the skills they need to enter the twenty-first century job market and succeed. A case in point is Gallup’s 2015 Great Jobs-Great Lives study where:

Only eleven percent of corporate executives perceive that job applicants (student graduates) have the skills they are looking for.

Yet ninety-eight percent of chief academic officers are confident their schools are preparing students for the workforce.

With sixteen million unemployed youth (U.S. Labor statistics, April 2016), it is obvious that a serious “skills gap” exists. Pundits speak about this increasing problem that affects us at a national, state, and local level, but especially at home with our families.

As I see it, the United States is abundantly rich in adults with “know how.” By connecting mentors—educated adults with expertise and knowledge to share with mentees—teens and young adults who lack motivation, experience, or role models in their lives—we can begin to close this gap dramatically. We can prepare the next generation for the jobs of tomorrow by adding real world, project-based experience to their education.

Teach to Work is a call to action for reluctant mentors. Whether you are a banker, lawyer, architect, accountant, engineer, IT specialist, or artist you might ask, “How would I work with kids?” I am here to say that if I can, you can. I have written a step-by-step guide to help you share your knowledge, and walk you through this intergenerational experience. This book outlines an adjunct role in your community’s classrooms that uniquely integrates the business and education sectors with value added to each.

Based on fifteen years of mentoring, as well as designing a national mentoring model with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, in Teach to Work, I prove how corporations, professionals, and boomers (seventy-eight million), can have a significant impact on preparing America’s students to enter the job market by becoming ambassadors of talent, grit, and skill.

In reading, you will discover stories of mentorship and best practices written peer to peer, mentor to mentor with significant research to support them. You will read excerpts of letters I have received from students, teachers, and fellow mentors describing heartfelt joy, obstacles overcome, and pride of accomplishment—my raison d’etre for writing this book and sharing it with you.

Repeatedly, I have seen mentors experience an awakening that occurs when you help a young person achieve a goal, gain self-confidence, or reimagine his future, because you showed up , were interested ,and shared your experience.

Join me on this journey and learn Why, How, and Where you too can transform lives, mentoring one student at a time.