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College Preparedness

How Identifying Strengths and Interests Can Set Kids up For Success

Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight

Executive Director and COO, The DeBruce Foundation

Do you know your agilities? 

At The DeBruce Foundation, our theory of change is that when one knows their “agilities” — or how strengths and interests connect to work activities — they begin to develop the “Agility Advantage.” This means they are prepared to see opportunity, overcome challenges and navigate the ever-changing workplace.

As the first step toward developing the Agility Advantage, we’ve created the Agile Work Profiler, an online career assessment that is free to the public and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. This tool helps individuals discover their agilities.

In our recent survey of 700 young people (ages 16-24) and 300 parents in the Midwest, we found: 

Youth are optimistic about their futures, but there’s a disconnect

Although 88 percent of young people are confident they will achieve their career goals, they do not know what those careers will be or which are best suited for them. Four out of 10 do not know what career they want to pursue, and 64 percent have only considered one or two careers in the last year (yet we know from the Bureau of Labor Statistics they will hold an average of 12 different jobs throughout their working life).

Too many youth are disengaged from the career preparation process

One in 5 youths say they have not really spent time thinking about their career at all and 1 in 3 youth have little to no idea what to do to prepare for a career. Also, only about half of youth (45%) have taken a career aptitude test.

Our research indicates there is a tremendous opportunity to help youth develop the Agility Advantage to expand their career pathways and make informed career decisions. To learn more about our research, visit To access the Agile Work Profiler, visit

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