New Report from YouScience® Shows Washington Students Have The Aptitudes, But Lack Exposure in Key Industries Critical for Economic Development

Closing the exposure gap requires education and industry to converge in new and better ways to solve workforce shortages and bolster economic growth throughout the state.

AMERICAN FORK, Utah, October 18, 2023YouScience®, the leading technology provider dedicated to closing the growing skills gap between students and employers, today announced the release of a new statewide data report, the Washington Student Ability Report. The findings reveal a significant career exposure gap among Washington’s middle and high school students. The report examines students’ self-reported interests compared to their true aptitude potential based on key industries vital to Washington’s economic growth.

Among the most notable insights, Washington students have:

  • 39% more aptitude for careers in Computers & Technology than interest.
  • 33% more aptitude for careers in Health Science than interest.
  • 29% more aptitude for careers in Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources than interest.
  • 25% more aptitude for careers in Advanced Manufacturing than interest.

With projections showing that Washington’s current labor shortage will continue well into the coming years, closing this career exposure gap is critical to support the state’s economy. The findings from the Washington Student Ability Report suggest that despite having the potential to excel in today’s and tomorrow’s most sought-after careers, Washington students remain largely unaware or uninterested in the academic paths that lead to those tremendous professional opportunities.

“With immense resources, infrastructure, and industry, Washington is poised to remain an economic leader for generations to come so long as it can solve its emerging workforce challenges,” said Edson Barton, CEO of YouScience. “Our report reveals the need to better help students identify their personal aptitudes and then relevantly match their talents to Washington’s in-demand careers and educational opportunities. Doing so will build a talent pipeline that will support a dynamic Washington economy and its amazingly diverse and powerful industries.”

“By uncovering students’ traits using aptitude and interest, a more comprehensive exploration is possible and opens doors to options they may not have considered,” said Teri Melone, Director of Career and Technical Education & Communications, Yelm Community Schools. “Connecting student achievement of skill standards using industry recognized certifications to what employers value makes them more engaged and invested in what they’re learning in the classroom.”

To address the exposure gap, YouScience offers the following recommendations: 


  • Utilize aptitude assessments as the foundation for career exploration
  • Institute collaborative planning tools to better engage with industry
  • Use interdisciplinary teaching approaches that are used in business
  • Make career-connected learning integral to all parts of student learning
  • Utilize scalable and sustainable education-to-career tools and solutions
  • Leverage industry-recognized certifications to validate all student learning
  • Implement meaningful work-based learning, internships, and apprenticeships 

Download the full report here. Additional data is available to share with the media upon request. 

This report uses proprietary data to show the gap between Washington students’ interests, aptitudes, and best-fit careers. It features anonymized results of more than 17,000 Washington students who have completed the YouScience® Aptitude & Career Discovery assessment, and data from more than 870,000 administered YouScience® Industry Certifications. 

For more information about YouScience and YouScience solutions, please visit


About YouScience

YouScience® is the leading technology provider dedicated to solving the skills gap crisis for students and employers. Its end-to-end platform, YouScience® Brightpath, connects education with career applications designed to help students unlock their potential for future pathways. YouScience leverages proven research, artificial intelligence, and industry input to help individuals identify their natural talents, validate their skills and knowledge, and get matched with real-world educational and career pathways in high-demand occupations. YouScience is the preferred choice of individuals, parents, educators, and counselors to guide and support educational and career pathways, currently serving more than 7,000 educational institutions and nearly one million users.