A societal by-product of compulsory schooling has been the extension of childhood up to and beyond the age of 18; young people have been segregated from society and have been largely stripped of responsibility. Before the age of 18, young people have limited freedoms in buying and owning certain goods or assets, consenting to certain personal or medical activities, and entering into certain contracts. Well-intentioned but misguided laws have also been put in place that restrict their ability to gain meaningful work experience, and various certification and degree requirements postpone their ability to gain other work experience.

By treating young people like children well beyond childhood, we make it difficult for them to transition into adulthood. Most 18-year-olds are ill-equipped to become productive members of society who are able to engage in the market economy in a self-sustaining or prosperous manner. Without the opportunity to engage in meaningful work while they are young, they lose precious opportunities to dabble in various fields until they can find one that they are passionate about. This significantly increases the chances that the young person will spend their twenties or thirties bouncing from one career field to another in a society that judges harshly those who cannot develop a track record of success early in their career.

Additionally, their lack of work experience means they lack the knowledge and skills to position themselves as talented professionals, and society’s discrimination against youth exacerbates their predicament. Without such knowledge and skills these young professionals often have few employment options, resulting in dead-end jobs where most of the surplus that they create is captured by their employer.

Learners at Abrome, however, are able to better prepare themselves for sustainable or prosperous careers because they are able to identify their strengths, interests and passions earlier in life, and then purposefully work toward them. Abrome Learners do not typically have to provide for themselves, allowing them to take risks testing out various functions and industries earlier in life while being supported by their guardians. By immersing themselves in the psychologically safe Abrome learning community, they have the ability to shift their focus time and again. This allows them to identify what work they are most skilled at and what work makes them happiest.

When young people can find a career that brings together their natural talents with their passions early in life, and when they are freed from arbitrary demands on their time that are not aligned with their needs, goals and interests, then they can invest inordinate amounts of time developing the experiences and skills necessary to attain excellence. This may result in Abrome Learners mastering a trade that allows them to be paid as a skilled expert before the age of 18, ensuring that they do not lose the majority of the surplus that they create to their employer or contractor. Likewise, Abrome Learners may leverage the support of the Abrome learning community to launch their own entrepreneurial ventures well before the age of 18, allowing them to bypass society’s expectations that young people wait their turn and defer to more seasoned professionals. Finally, if higher education and certifications are required in their chosen profession (e.g., law, medicine), then they will be able to tailor their learning experiences so that they will be better prepared to perform in those academic and testing environments, in addition to developing the skills that they’ll use after they complete the required education and certifications.

The way in which young people are treated in society today discourages learning, inhibits their ability to identify the careers that will make them happiest and most successful, and delays their progression from childhood into adulthood. At Abrome, we treat young people as adults; allowing them to transition into adulthood more effectively and more quickly.