Multiple Education Pathways Blueprint Initiative
The Multiple Educational Pathways Blueprint Initiative, a groundbreaking initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Labor, is designed to provide an opportunity for seven mid-sized cities to build a systemic strategy that addresses the needs of struggling students and dropouts. Each city, working with Jobs for the Future and the Department of Labor, will build a multi-sector partnership to assess the scope of the dropout challenge, the service and resource landscape, and the strength of current high school reform efforts. The partners in each community will use this information to develop a comprehensive “Blueprint” for building multiple pathways that can ultimately improve the education and workforce outcomes for these youth.
The 21st-century economy requires a more highly skilled and educated workforce to meet the demands of an increasingly global marketplace. Yet too many of the nation’s youth are leaving high school without credentials or lacking the skills needed for postsecondary education, training, and work. By some estimates, one-third of all youth entering ninth grade will leave high school without earning a diploma. Eleven percent of 16- to 24-year-olds nationally have left school without a diploma or a GED. These numbers of unprunderprepared youth strain state and regional economies. According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, our country could reap $45 billion in taxable income and recovered social service costs if the U.S could cut just one year’s high school dropouts by half.
With increasingly sophisticated and available data, cities and states across the country are gaining a better understanding of the scope and dimensions of the dropout crisis. Local leaders recognize that these young people are an important part of the new workforce pipeline that businesses need to fill job vacancies in the knowledge-based economy. These dual recognitions are leading to heightened action on behalf of struggling students and out-of-school youth.
In a number of urban areas, school systems, other youth-serving systems, mayor’s offices, employers, the public workforce system, and community and faith-based organizations are stepping up their dropout prevention, intervention, and recovery efforts. However, the dropout challenge facing our cities is far larger in scope and more complex in nature than a few isolated programs or policy waivers can address. The challenge for local policy, practice, and community leaders is to be strategic and intentional in coordinating these efforts. The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, in order to provide national leadership for and support to this work developed and launched the Multiple Education Pathways Blueprint Initiative. In addition, ETA, recognizing JFF’s expertise and experience with these issues, contracted with JFF to provide technical assistance to the new MEPB communities.
The Multiple Educational Pathways Blueprint Initiative provides an opportunity for mid-sized cities—often challenged by high dropout rates but overlooked on the national scene—to build systemic strategies to address the needs of struggling students and dropouts. Each city will build a multi-sector partnership to assess:
- The scope of the dropout challenge;
- The service and resource landscape; and
- The strength of current high school reform efforts.
The partners in each community will use this information to develop a comprehensive Blueprint for building multiple educational pathways.
Each city’s Blueprint will bring together an array of education and workforce assets and leverage resources to support new or expanded options within an “ecosystem” of support that moves struggling students and out-of-school youth through high school to postsecondary experiences and career pathways. Community partners will consider new services and supports, particularly during the first year of high school. They also will build or replicate evidence-based new school models that feature blended designs, drawing from the resources and expertise of a combination of community agencies, workforce systems, school districts, and community colleges.
- Brockton, MA
- Des Moines, IA
- Fall River, MA
- Gary, IN
- Metairie, LA
- Mobile, AL
- Pittsburgh, PA
JFF is developing and providing technical assistance to the seven cities in the MEPB learning network.
In 2007 and 2008, JFF helped city teams develop blueprints focused on how to create and finance an array of quality education pathways that can better support young people’s educational progress and raise high school completion rates. This work built on the lessons from frontrunner cities—New York; Boston; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; and San Jose—that have made progress in improving the educational options and outcomes of struggling students and dropouts, with support from JFF and the Youth Transition Funders Group. City teams also benefit from an array of DOL-sponsored resources, including related efforts such as the WIRED initiative and a series of best practice national webinars.
Multiple Education Pathways Blueprint (MEPB) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor.
For more information, contact:
Lili Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617.728.4446