Amid the nation’s messy economic rebound, industries are looking for different ways to attract and credential new hires. And a growing number of companies are starting to recruit earlier—including reaching out to some of the millions of students who are being homeschooled.
U.S. enrollment in public K-12 schools declined 3 percent during 2019–2020 due to pandemic-related disruptions. And a newly released investigation by NPR found that enrollment at most school districts in a large sample were down again,
particularly in some of the nation’s largest public systems. Many of the missing students have enrolled in charter or private schools, delayed entering school, or are working, NPR reported.
Homeschooling also is way up—a whopping 11 percent of U.S. households with school-aged children reported homeschooling
last fall, according
to the U.S. Census Bureau, up from 3.3 percent before the pandemic. More than 16 percent of Black households were homeschooling, five times the previous rate.
As a result, finding a way to connect with homeschooled students is increasingly attractive to employers, particularly those that are seeking to diversify their workforce, according
to Tallo, a free networking site
for high school students. Businesses and colleges can reach
1.7M current or recent students through the site to recruit them or to offer scholarships.
“The interest is there. They want to learn. They want to work,” says Casey Welch
, president and CEO of Tallo, which is affiliated
with Stride K12, an online education company. Homeschooled youth account for a large share of the site’s users, 43 percent of whom are racial or ethnic minorities.
Companies use the platform like a virtual job fair. “They’re trying to find nontraditional places to find talent,” Welch says. Lockheed Martin and Boeing do targeted outreach through the site, for example. In addition to aerospace companies, Tallo’s partners tend to be in the IT, health care, retail, and advanced manufacturing industries.
Response rates are high for young people on the platform, says Rob Sentz
, a consultant to Tallo who previously was the chief innovation officer for Emsi, a labor market research firm that this year merged with Burning Glass.