With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Open Society Foundations, JFF is supporting the efforts of its partners—YouthBuild USA, the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC), and the Corps Network, along with their networks of local sites and affiliated community colleges—and providing them with technical expertise, tools, products, and services to strengthen their program designs in order to increase the number of low-income youths aged 18-26 earning a postsecondary credential with value in the labor market. Learn more about national youth-serving networks below, and their ambitious effort to create momentum toward postsecondary credits and credentials among young people who are low income, mostly minority, and disconnected from both education and the workforce.
Activities and Strategies
To help build overall field capacity to support strong program designs, and build on ramps to postsecondary education, JFF, in supporting its partners, is undertaking three sets of activities:
National Youth-serving Networks
National networks of youth-serving organizations are important vehicles for developing and scaling up Back on Track Through College Designs in multiple sites. These networks often have an infrastructure in place for professional development and can support cross-site sharing of practices to drive more effective designs.
Working with JFF, YouthBuild USA, National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC), and the Corps Network are building on their long history of outreach and support to the country's most vulnerable and neglected youth and young adults. They are helping local affiliated schools and community-based programs to enrich their academic offerings, create bridges to postsecondary education, and collaborate with postsecondary partners to build supports to ensure that young people get the academic momentum they need to attain a postsecondary credential. Central to this effort are partnerships, codified in memoranda of understanding between community colleges and local schools and programs.
In putting the Back on Track model in place, YouthBuild USA, NYEC, and the Corps Network assisted by JFF, have built their capacity to provide technical assistance and support to a total of 29 participating sites and two dozen affiliated college partners across 15 states. (The Corps Network joined the effort in 2011 and will establish sites soon.) All 29 sites are committed to improving postsecondary attainment of the young people participating in their programs. Strong "communities of practice" among the sites and their community college partners have enabled these innovators to grapple with key challenges to implementing pathways for their students to and through a first year of college, as well as to surface and showcase the strongest innovations at both the secondary and postsecondary levels (including developmental education).
Across the initiative, young people's aspirational goals have become a reality for the first cohort of students:
The Postsecondary Success Initiative uses the Back on Track Through College design to get students who have dropped out to and through postsecondary education. Back on Track pathways that provide students with what they need to succeed in postsecondary education include:
Postsecondary Success Initiative Brief: Pathway to Recovery: Implementing a Back on Track Through College Model