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Report

Family Voices: Building Pathways From Learning
to Meaningful Work

Understand American parents' aspirations for their children after high school, as well as the barriers they face to following a preferred postsecondary path.

Report front cover of Gallup and Carnegie Corporation of New York's Family Voices report, featuring young people interacting with their families and technology.

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Faced with unprecedented change in the postsecondary landscape, America's families are wrestling with questions of college, careers, skills development and meaningful work. When asked what they most hope their child will do when they graduate high school, parents separated into two large groups: Those who said they want their child to attend a four-year college, and those who would prefer their child do something else.

Gallup, in partnership with Carnegie Corporation of New York, developed the Family Voices: Building Pathways From Learning to Meaningful Work survey to understand American parents' thoughts on the postsecondary pathways they aspire to for their children - rather than only those they feel are within reach - as well as the barriers they face to these aspirations.

The study explores important issues such as:

  • what families wish for their child after high school, and the choices many must make instead
  • views on postsecondary pathways, how effectively they prepare students for the workforce and their availability in communities nationwide
  • barriers children face to pursuing their families' preferred postsecondary path

46%
of parents said they hoped their child would do something other than attend a four-year college after high school.

At least

40%

of parents who prefer their child attend college also expressed interest in career-related learning opportunities such as internships or apprenticeships.

49%
of parents who wanted their child to attend a college or training program, but whose child did not do so after high school, said their child took a paid job instead.