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American Graduate communication resources for career education

UEN’s American Graduate: Getting to Work project has created new content spotlighting technical education, UtahFutures resources.

As part of its American Graduate: Getting to Work project, UEN launched two multi-platform campaigns in 2018 to help more Utahns make well-informed decisions about education and career. Timed in alignment with regional events to celebrate Utah’s Year of Technical Education and developed with partner input, the UtahFutures American Graduate campaigns highlight local career planning resources available through and the role technical college can play in obtaining meaningful employment. is a web portal for college and career planning managed by UEN since 2015. The site provides a suite of interactive tools to help students and jobseekers discover occupations that match their interests and skills, compare return-on-investment for different education-to-career pathways, find programs and scholarships, prepare for entrance and licensure exams, create resumes, and more. The portal draws from and directs visitors to partner information, including Utah Department of Workforce Services occupational data, programs and planning resources from the Utah System of Technical Colleges, and degree programs through the Utah System of Higher Education. Career exploration is a required part of the state’s middle and high school curriculum, with providing timely data to help young people make informed decisions.

Highly valued by Utah’s education community, UtahFutures is UEN’s flagship career education initiative with strong brand recognition in the state. By connecting UtahFutures and Utah’s American Graduate work, UEN is strengthening key messages of both: that well-informed youth are more likely to make better choices when preparing for the workforce and that awareness of today’s workforce needs can spell opportunity for individuals seeking rewarding careers.

As described in this case study, the UtahFutures: American Graduate “Plan Your Path” campaign capitalizes on branding elements developed with animation studio Planet Nutshell. The series of short videos help users visualize their personal transformation from student, veteran, or working adult to Utah’s high demand professions including teacher, diesel mechanic, construction trades, and the health sciences. It includes, for the first time ever, messaging on bus and light rail trains in the Salt Lake City metro area in addition to broadcast, online, social media, and showings at community events.


The second campaign, “Considering Careers? Consider This!”, features Utahns sharing stories of personal and financial benefits obtained through technical certification in a variety of fields. They also showcase multiple ways that learners leverage technical certifications, from direct entry to the workforce to dual credit enrollment to stacking credentials that help build skills, manage debt, and affirm their career choices before investing in college degrees. Videos from the set have been featured on UEN and at Year of Technical Education events across the state. “Financial Turnaround,” the story of a single mother who achieved self-sufficiency through technical education, was featured at Talent Forward 2018, a national conference hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and held in Washington, D.C. in October.

Both campaigns include a set a of videos for social media and broadcast and an outreach toolkit to help partners, Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers, school counselors, and advisors incorporate the materials into presentations and lessons. Visual themes from the campaigns are integrated into materials shared at community events held around the state. Through these events, project messaging has reached thousands of community members.

In addition to developing videos and outreach materials for these campaigns, UEN’s UtahFutures American Graduate project convened education and community partners, aired more than 105 hours of career education programming on its main broadcast channel, and expanded the reach of community discussions of workforce and education issues and trends through social media productions such as a teen’s interview with a local CTE Director. UEN continues to work with local partners to raise awareness of the need for and value of CTE in turning the workforce skills gap into opportunity for Utah youth ages 16-24.

About American Graduate
Since 2011, the public media initiative American Graduate, made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), has grown into one of the largest public media collaborations across the country with over 125 local public media organizations, and national television and radio producers and distributors, working with more than 1,700 community partners. National and local reporting, public forums and town halls, and education resources drove awareness and discussions among leaders, educators, students and concerned citizens, and inspired adults to become an American Graduate Champion for the nation’s youth. Stations played an important role helping communities address the challenges and highlight local solutions to the dropout crisis, and the national graduation rate is now at an unprecedented 84.1 percent.

In 2018, together with 19 stations, CPB launched the initiative’s next phase, American Graduate: Getting to Work, to partner with schools and businesses, and help prepare students with the skill sets and training needed to be part of the new workforce, especially for high-demand fields. Join the conversation at facebook, and find out more through your local public media station or American Graduate.

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