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Press Release

JFF Leads National Coalition to Improve Equity in Postsecondary and Career Pathways

September 15, 2021

At a Glance

An additional $2.3 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Walton Family Foundation aims to improve outcomes for Black and Latinx youth, and youth experiencing poverty

BOSTON (Sept. 15, 2021) — Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit driving transformation in the American workforce and education systems, is proud to announce the expansion of Building Equitable Pathways, a coalition working to improve equity in postsecondary and career pathways so that all young people have equal opportunity for future success. This expansion is made possible through investments totaling $2.3 million to JFF and 14 partnering organizations from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Walton Family Foundation.

Building Equitable Pathways aims to ensure that, at every stage and key transition point in their lives, Black and Latinx youth and young people experiencing poverty can access the knowledge, skills development opportunities, support, and relationships necessary to thrive in education and the workforce.

This increased investment in Building Equitable Pathways is a confirmation of our collective responsibility and power to change our education and workforce systems. By leading with an intentional focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, intermediaries can inspire other leaders to dismantle inequitable structural and systemic barriers, so all students have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Kyle Hartung, Associate Vice President, JFF

Drawing on decades of expertise in pathways, JFF will lead and learn with 14 innovative intermediary organizations across the country: Career Connect Washington, CareerWise Colorado, CityWorks DC, CSCU Student Success Center, Delaware Department of Education, Educate Texas, Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University, EmployIndy, HERE to HERE, Rush Education and Career Hub, Say Yes Buffalo, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Urban Alliance, and YouthForce NOLA. Intermediaries are critical to this work because they bring together key players and mobilize the cross-sector partnerships necessary for equitable pathways.

Connecting young people to promising pathways seems like a straightforward task and yet all who are involved in this work encounter barriers to making this possible. Career Connect Washington is excited to engage with other leaders to learn from their experiences and to share ours. Together, we can knit together a system of career-connected learning that allows every young person the opportunity to explore and realize their full potential.

Maud Daudon, Executive Leader, Career Connect Washington

The initiative seeks to increase capacity, collaboration, and sustainability across our education and workforce systems and collectively influence more equitable outcomes in postsecondary education and career.

Building on the foundation set by the first cohort launched in 2019, the work will increase intermediaries’ impact in three key areas:

  • Promoting racial equity in pathways
  • Advocating for policy solutions
  • Cultivating data and infrastructure

Building Equitable Pathways provides space to learn from and with other leaders in postsecondary education and youth workforce development. Our team has done the important work of laying a foundation for equity and access in career pathways. We aim to build on that foundation by strengthening our data infrastructure, advocacy skills, and capacity to advance systems change, creating greater opportunities for economic mobility for Black and Latinx youth.

Rukiya Curvey-Johnson, Executive Director, Rush Education and Career Hub

This second Building Equitable Pathways cohort will continue through March 2024.

You can learn more about Building Equitable Pathways on the JFF website.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future (JFF) drives transformation of the U.S. education and workforce systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all.