Closing the gap requires education and industry to work together to address talent shortages in order to bolster economic growth throughout the state.

AMERICAN FORK, Utah, February 27, 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 for California–the “2023 California Student Career Exposure Gap Report.” The findings, which compared students’ self-reported interests with their aptitude measurements, reveal a career exposure gap among California’s middle and high school students. 

 Among the 16 National Career Clusters, the YouScience data reveals:  

  • California students have high aptitude, but low interest in Computers & Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, and Health Science.
    • Female students (middle and high school combined) have nearly 10.7x more aptitude for Advanced Manufacturing careers than interest.
    • Female students (middle and high school combined) have 8.1x more aptitude for Computers & Technology careers than interest.
    • Male students (high school) have 2.3x more aptitude for Health Science careers than interest.
  • California students have higher interest, but lower aptitude in Human Services, Law & Public Safety, and Teaching careers. 
  • At the same time, female students (middle and high school combined) have 4x more interest than aptitude for Human Services careers and 4.5x more interest than aptitude for careers in Law & Public Safety.
  • An implication is that the community, industry, and educational systems are preparing students for careers that may not be as in-demand or high-paying.

 With projections showing that California will face a shortage of 1.1 million workers by 2030, closing this career exposure gap is more urgent than ever. The findings from the 2023 California Student Career Exposure Gap Report suggest that despite having the potential to excel in today’s most sought-after careers, California students remain largely unaware or uninterested in the various academic and professional opportunities available to them, as well as their own capabilities.

 Furthermore, results demonstrate a gender gap concerning high-paying STEM careers for California female students. The findings show that female middle school students have 11.7x the aptitude than interest in advanced manufacturing roles. This means that while California middle school girls possess the skills required to be successful in these industries, they are not exploring these opportunities or even considering them as career options, a cause for concern given that aptitudes solidify by age 14. It is evident from this data that more needs to be done to create equitable options, encourage girls to pursue STEM careers, and close the gender gap in these sectors. 

 “The results of the 2023 California Student Career Exposure Gap Report echo what’s happening across the country – students have the talent to be successful in high growth career opportunities, but lack exposure to a breadth of careers that they can excel in,” said Edson Barton, founder, and CEO of YouScience. “The need for education and industry to converge to empower every student to achieve their intentional individual success is critical.”

 “Students need to understand their aptitudes and interests so they can go on to thrive in whatever pathway they decide. YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery is a great tool and provides our students with a personalized journey of self-discovery and career exploration,” said Trisha Oksner, Career Center Technician for Nipomo High School and Central Coast New Tech High in Nipomo, California. “YouScience levels the playing field, giving everyone a glimpse into their talents and gifts. I have seen female students going into the assessment thinking they might pursue cosmetology, design, or teaching—all noble pursuits—only to discover that they also have the skill sets to broaden their career scope to include technical fields.”

 YouScience analyzed the anonymized results of nearly 20,000 California middle and high school students who completed the Aptitude & Career Discovery assessment from YouScience® Brightpath in 2022.   

 To download the full report, please visit the 2023 California Student Career Exposure Gap Report. Additional data is available to share with the media upon request. 

 For more information on YouScience and its newly launched Brightpath–the comprehensive education-to-career platform that connects education with career applications designed to help students unlock their potential for future pathways.Visit for more information.