Generation Alpha is focused on successful futures

Body Content

Measuring just 1.2 square miles, the city of Central Falls, Rhode Island is one of the nation’s most densely populated cities. In Central Falls, where many students have native fluency in a language other than English and where over a third of residents are foreign-born, students may be navigating their high school diploma while working, caregiving for family, or dealing with an interrupted education due to immigration or relocation.

The real socioeconomic challenges of this small urban community create unfounded biases about educational opportunities and the student population.

We stepped up to help students and families get to know Central Falls High School’s newly reimagined Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.

The modernized curriculum provides career-focused, college-level, and hands-on coursework for high school students to train for and receive credentials in industries with growing demand including biomedical, law and community advocacy, environmental engineering, and computer science.

We had to convey attributes of the new CTE and how this program is ready to set students on a course for successful careers.

A student walks up a concrete staircase decorated with chalk flags including El Salvador, Senegal, and Peru.

Traditionally, messaging about high school programs targets parents. In this community, students often take the lead role in deciding their paths; the majority of participants decide to enroll in the program completely on their own. The message also considered young people are often handling adult responsibilities in addition to their schoolwork.

To deliver creative that appealed to students, we did secondary research about this recently named cohort: Generation Alpha. Born in the early- to mid-2010’s, Gen Alpha is now entering high school and driving a shift in educational engagement.

“We learned that schools are meeting student needs by switching from structural and auditory learning to visual and hands-on methods of educating this emerging generation,” shared Michaela Kellogg, Director, Creative Strategy.

That shift is central to CTE’s reimagined program, so we made it the core of our approach to the creative. We distilled the program attributes that would reach Generation Alpha and developed a creative strategy that leaned into these attributes.

Relevant

Gen Alpha is ready to do the work — but it needs to be relevant and connected to a career. In Central Falls, where schoolwork is often one of many other responsibilities, the CTE program materials had to clearly connect with real-world opportunities for students. For example, we listed college partnerships and are starting to gather career stories of graduates so current students can aspire to new opportunities.

A student made diorama of a molecule made of craft foam and assorted decorations.

Hands On

Gen Alpha is curious, and more so when they are trusted to use their skills with the real-world tools and supplies that will be part of their future careers. We showed students actively using science equipment, like microscopes and anatomy models. And the palette for the logo and marketing materials were bright, primary colors, alluding to playfulness when hands-on learning is encouraged.

Global

As multilingual learners, these students may perceive language as a barrier. In reality, this is an asset for students graduating into an increasingly global workforce. Photography that shows international flags lining the hallways reminds students that their language and cultural skills are an asset.

The students of Central Falls High School are fiercely independent and incredibly proud of their school and one another, with very good cause. The purpose of our creative strategy for the CTE program was to ensure these students’ futures will expand far beyond just one square mile.