Press Release: Fairfield County Community Foundation $43,000 Grant Supports Early College STEM Career Pathways in Bridgeport

Grant to Jobs for the Future Helps Secure $4.2 Million in Federal Funds

Bridgeport, CT–July 24, 2014–A $43,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation to Jobs for the Future will help advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, increase job opportunities for youth, and improve the local economy through the national STEM Early College Expansion Partnership with Bridgeport Public Schools. 

This funding is being used as part of a private matching requirement to secure approximately $4.2 million in federal funds in support of the JFF-Bridgeport Public Schools effort from the U.S. Department of Education under its Investing in Innovation (i3) program. 

Early college, a model that has expanded to serve over 80,000 students over the past 10 years, has an outstanding record in increasing high school and college success for traditionally underserved students. Early college schools have college-ready and career-ready curricula, which can be enhanced and aligned to in-demand careers through partnerships with employers and postsecondary institutions. 

Bridgeport Public Schools and JFF are pleased to work together and serve 10,000 high-need middle and high school students in Bridgeport, decreasing high school dropout rates, boosting college enrollment, and increasing access to family-supporting STEM careers.

The Fairfield County Community Foundation has prioritized helping teenagers and young adults acquire the education and skills they need to become self-sufficient by 24. 

“JFF is excited to partner with the Fairfield County Community Foundation and Bridgeport Public Schools to expand early college and address the county’s two greatest areas of concern—education and economic opportunity,” said Jobs for the Future Vice President Joel Vargas. “Early College Designs were created to help students achieve success in higher education and careers and gain economic prosperity.”

The work of this partnership will focus on building early college pathways to STEM programs of study at local colleges that are also aligned with expectations of area employers. This will build on Bridgeport Public Schools’ existing partnerships with local colleges and universities. Schools will also partner with local and regional employers to provide work-based learning opportunities and build faculty capacity to design and deliver problem— and project-based lessons with real-world applications. JFF will also work with the Bridgeport district to provide professional development and coaching for STEM teachers in several middle and high schools. 

Based on past experience and evaluations of early college schools, the national STEM Early College Expansion Partnership has established the following goals over the five-year grant period in Bridgeport:

  • Increase students taking and succeeding in core college-preparatory courses 
  • Higher rates of graduation 
  • More students interested in STEM fields and in pursuing a STEM career 
  • Transferable college credits earned by high school graduates that lead to postsecondary credentials and degrees with value in the regional labor market.  

About Fairfield County Community Foundation

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County. Individuals, families, corporations, and organizations can establish charitable funds and contribute to existing funds. The Foundation provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues. It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations. The Foundation has awarded over $168 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit www.fccfoundation.org.
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About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future works with our partners to design and drive the adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for those struggling to succeed in today’s economy. Our vision is that the promise of education and economic mobility in America is achieved for everyone. For more information, visit www.jff.org.
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About Bridgeport Public Schools

The mission of the Bridgeport Public Schools and its supporting community is to inspire our diverse community to work together in order to serve our students. Its vision is to be a model urban school district that values and celebrates diversity and is renowned for its academic excellence and its support of the emotional well-being of the school community. For more information, visit www.bridgeportedu.com.
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Contact:
Danita Jo Talbot
Director of Marketing Communications
Jobs for the Future
617.728.4446 x146
djtalbot@jff.org