Deeper supports to help students, families

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The Kresge Foundation has awarded $3.7 million in grants to community colleges and human services nonprofits that are partnering to help low-income individuals in six cities improve their social and economic mobility.

Through Kresge’s Boosting Opportunities for Social and Economic Mobility for Families (BOOST) initiative, the six partnerships receiving grants will seek to connect:

  • Community college students with critical human services supports to help them successfully juggle work, family and school, without halting their studies
  • Clients served by human services organizations to accessible, high-quality educational pathways that lead to family-sustaining careers
  • Clients and students to educational opportunities that promote career advancement

“At colleges all around the country, students often juggle work, family and school,” Bill Moses, Kresge Education Program managing director, said in a press release. “Nearly one in five college students are parents, and that rate is even higher at community colleges. We believe that if more students receive the critical supports that human services nonprofits provide, more students will stay in college and graduate.”

The partnerships include different approaches. For example, Baltimore City Community College and the Center for Urban Families will focus on fathers in their efforts to boost social and economic mobility of families. The team will coordinate services for unemployed and underemployed fathers, including those with criminal backgrounds. Through the initial work, 100 students will receive whole-family supports, coupled with education and training in postsecondary career pathways that lead to family-sustaining wages.

In Hartford, Connecticut, Capital Community College and the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford will aim to help 700 families through academic supports, such as applying for college and student aid, as well as workforce services, including career planning and financial coaching. Other activities will help foster healthy child-parent and parent-to-parent relationships.

LaGuardia Community College and Commonpoint Queens in New York City will work on a new approach to integrate English language learning into a community health certificate program, in addition to wraparound support services. The partnership aims to serve more than 200 immigrants.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Forward Service Corporation in Green Bay, Wisconsin, look to provide more seamless services that lead to credential attainment and job placement in healthcare and other family-sustaining jobs. This will include developing common intake tools, strengthening data sharing and adopting the same service delivery framework that trains direct care staff to work with client students.

Onondaga Community College and PEACE, Inc. in Syracuse, New York, also aim to strengthen coordination by developing new shared intake and referral processes, and jointly training staff an evidence-based coaching models. In addition, the partnership will incorporate analysis on “lifetime/springboard” jobs in their educational pathways and career advising for client students.

In Portland, Oregon, Portland Community College and Albina Head Start will expand their career-focused education programs and holistic supports to 200 more Early Head Start and Head Start parents. The team also will identify and revamp organizational or system-level barriers to meet the needs of parent students and share that information throughout the state.

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