Frank Britt

Frank Britt is the CEO of Penn Foster, a leading career-focused online and hybrid education institution that annually supports over 100,000 active students and 1,000 institutions nationwide. His mission is to create a national movement to better connect education, career pathways and job creation, and to promote affordable learning.
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Recent Posts

How Organizations of All Kinds Can Support High School Dropouts

Posted by Frank Britt on 8/25/16 1:01 PM

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972-2012 published in 2015, the average high school dropout costs the economy approximately $250,000 over his or her lifetime. With the average life expectancy of 79 years, this equates to $4,166 as an annual cost to the economy. Employers, educators, and government organizations are making purposeful commitments to providing pathways for young people who have aged out of compulsory school to achieve their high school diploma and prepare for the workforce or higher education. Here we touch upon how myriad stakeholders can help these students that have typically aged-out of the traditional k-12 system - and why they’d want to.

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Topics: Youth Organizations, Public & Private High Schools, Employers, Colleges & Career Schools

How We Can Make CTE More Efficient and Effective - Part III, Filling the Middle Skill Jobs of Today and Tomorrow

Posted by Frank Britt on 6/14/16 11:00 AM

For many Americans, “higher education” still means a four-year degree. However, with unemployment hovering around 5.5 percent and with many students graduating from four-year institutions unable to find jobs, our perception of the costs and benefits of education needs to change. Degrees that prepare students for middle-skilled careers are often ignored or rejected, but education leaders need to realize that, as valuable as four-year degrees may be, they are not practical for every student, especially given that these students are saddled with an average of $26,600 of debt overall,1 and $32,700 when graduating from for-profit colleges.2

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Topics: High School Completion, Middle Skills Gap, College Enrollment & Retention

How We Can Make CTE More Efficient and Effective, Part II: CTE at the High School Level

Posted by Frank Britt on 5/31/16 11:12 AM

Employment-focused education for “middle-skill” occupations is becoming increasingly relevant. More than 850,000 K-12 students in the U.S. are classified as “vocational,” which encompasses CTE fields and makes up just around 2% of total students. The cost to educate these students is nearly $14,000 or 20-40% greater than that of traditional academic instruction. In recent years, approximately $13 billion has been spent annually by federal, state and local governments to support youth-focused vocational education systems across the U.S., with federal funding constituting only about 4-8% percent of all state and local spending.1 This is in addition to the $16 billion post-high school trade and technical school-industry.

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Topics: High School Completion, Middle Skills Gap, Public & Private High Schools

How We Can Make CTE More Efficient and Effective - Part I

Posted by Frank Britt on 5/17/16 12:49 PM

To date, a lot of good has been done for Career Technical Education (CTE). Lives have been changed and skills have been built, as institutions and dedicated faculty have been well-preparing students for careers in CTE.  In this series, we’ll talk about how to build on the strong foundation of CTE and evolve the system while innovating for the future.

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Topics: High School Completion, Middle Skills Gap, College Enrollment & Retention

Penn Foster’s Rich History: 125 Years of Adapting to the Needs of America’s Workforce

Posted by Frank Britt on 12/23/15 10:00 AM

American education evolved into its current system by adapting to advancements in technology and changes in the labor market. Penn Foster’s history is rooted in response to and growth from these very same changes. Our career-oriented courses not only provide vital training to American workers looking to advance their careers and quality of life, but they reflect the education and training needs of the American employment market and help employers fill important jobs with skilled workers. Penn Foster’s offerings reflect America’s education and employment trends over the last 125 years and highlight the vital role we continue to play in equipping today's students to become tomorrow's workforce.

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Topics: Middle Skills Gap, Penn Foster News & Events

A Day to Be Thankful For: A Letter from the CEO

Posted by Frank Britt on 11/25/15 11:00 AM

As we take the time to reflect upon what we’re most thankful for this holiday season, I am filled with gratitude whenever I get the chance to witness something truly remarkable. Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to attend Penn Foster’s Scranton-based graduation and student meet-up event, orchestrated for 60 students and their 200+ family and friends. Our students have overcome some of the toughest obstacles and have faced myriad hardships throughout their lifetimes - yet have defied the odds and persevered in order to gain their education. Seeing the joy, the tears, the proud families and friends standing by as each of our graduates walked across the stage fills me with a sense of utter gratitude to have the privilege of being a small part of something meaningful.

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Topics: High School Completion, Penn Foster News & Events

How to Break the Unemployment-Enrollment Link

Posted by Frank Britt on 11/18/15 11:00 AM

A simple, yet troubling rule of thumb drives enrollment to community colleges, for-profit colleges, and some four-year open-access institutions. As reported by Inside Higher Ed, employment and unemployment rates drive spikes in enrollment at these institutions, and play a much greater correlation than other population trends. It’s a logical and consistent link: when unemployment rises, so do enrollments to community colleges. This is due to the fact that when people of low-income become unemployed, they are freed up to invest their time in higher education. When unemployment is down, low-income students do not have the luxury to go to school, because they have immediate monetary needs, and must go to work while employment is an option.

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Topics: Industry News, College Enrollment & Retention, Colleges & Career Schools

What’s Missing from the College Completion Agenda that Could Benefit America’s Economy - A Path to Get There

Posted by Frank Britt on 11/4/15 12:00 PM

The college completion agenda is picking up across the nation. States are seizing the opportunity to set new goals for increasing the number of citizens who hold postsecondary certificates or degrees. The ultimate aim of this initiative is to generate a more skilled, qualified and credentialed pool of candidates to infuse into the workforce, thereby creating a more robust and thriving economy. But is the standard for postsecondary education the right benchmark to be aiming for all citizens?

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Topics: High School Completion, Middle Skills Gap, Industry News, College Enrollment & Retention

Penn Foster Programs Then & Now

Posted by Frank Britt on 9/9/15 9:00 AM

Since the 2013 State of the Union address, the Department of Education has renewed emphasis on programs that prepare students with the skills employers demand, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math.1 The department's 2015 budget reflects this priority, with $170 million earmarked for programs that prepare students for STEM-related careers.2 While this policy is new, the principle is not. Promoting career skills has been the mission of Penn Foster for over a century, ever since Thomas J. Foster opened a correspondence school to teach mining engineering to mine workers in 1890.

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Topics: Penn Foster News & Events

125 Years: The Honor of Labor

Posted by Frank Britt on 8/18/15 9:00 AM

Since its inception in 1890, Penn Foster has dedicated itself to enhancing students' lives by imparting the knowledge, skills and credentials to help students get started on their career path. In doing so, Penn Foster has paid tribute to the honor of skilled labor. From extending educational opportunities to miners, women and military personnel to reaching out to TV and Internet audiences, Penn Foster has brought the benefits of education to workers from all walks of life. As the school celebrates its 125th year of operation, Penn Foster's long history of helping hardworking people learn more testifies to its commitment to its mission.

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Topics: Middle Skills Gap, Penn Foster News & Events, Opportunity Youth

 

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