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Where We’re Going: Places on the Road to the North Star

Where We’re Going: Places on the Road to the North Star

Watch the video to hear reflections on the Partners for Postsecondary Sucess program

One of the most valuable contributions MDC makes to community partnerships that want more low-income young adults to finish postsecondary credentials and get better jobs is to bring those partnerships together to learn from each other’s work. In April 2013, MDC held the third annual Learning Institute as part of our Partners for Postsecondary Success (PPS) initiative that includes partnerships we have been working with in Amarillo, TX, Brownsville, TX, Raleigh, NC, and an affiliate site Charlotte, NC. Nearly 100 attendees gathered in Durham, NC, along with partners from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, OMG Center for Collaborative Learning, the National League of Cities, Communities Learning in Partnership, and the Forum for Youth Investment.

The three-day conference was designed to reinforce the partnerships’ efforts to continue and expand their work now that their initial grants from the Gates Foundation are completed. Considering just a sample of what the partnerships have already accomplished, the future looks very promising:

  • Through the efforts of Brownsville’s All In partners, 100 percent of public high school seniors applied for college in 2013, up from 58 percent in 2012, and more than 70 percent completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), up from just over 50 percent last year.
  • Amarillo’s No Limits No Excuses movement fields a new network of more than 500 trained volunteer Navigators guiding hundreds of families on newly created pathways to postsecondary attainment; partners have funded 12 new positions to sustain student success initiatives.
  • The Raleigh Promise opened its first Raleigh College Center in space donated by the city, creating an information hub for more than 250 families who have participated in workshops to learn more about attending college.
  • In Charlotte, The Latin American Coalition launched College Access Para Todos a youth-led, youth-serving initiative to educate immigrant families and secondary and postsecondary administrators on strategies to address the multiple challenges facing immigrant students seeking postsecondary success. 

In video above, you can hear from participants about how this work unfolded in their communities.

In the coming weeks of the “Where We’re Going” series, we’ll share highlights from the PPS efforts in blog posts, as well as additional videos of the presentations and discussions that took place at the 2013 Learning Institute. Those discussions included “Constructing an Equitable Future,” with MDC President David Dodson and Placida Gallegos, a professor in the School of Human & Organizational Development at Fielding Graduate University; former Savannah, Ga., Mayor Otis Johnson talking about “Changing Minds, Changing Communities;” and a panel of students from the four partnership cities who spoke about the challenges they faced—making clear the importance of including students’ insights when planning programs aimed at them.

Partners for Postsecondary Success, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and led by MDC, is an effort by partnerships in Amarillo, TX; Brownsville, TX; Raleigh, NC; and affiliate site Charlotte, NC, to increase the number of low-income young adults getting postsecondary credentials that lead to living-wage jobs. Today’s post is the first in a series called Where We’re Going: Places on the Road to the North Star, which explores lessons from the past three years of the initiative and looks ahead, toward the North Star goals these cities are aiming to achieve.