Quick-tracking associate degree for students if needed

A new grant program created and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aims to help high school students complete an associate’s degree or certificate just one year after graduating from high school.

Accelerate ED: Degrees and Careers is a program that allows 12 teams across the US to scale approximately $ 175,000 each existing enterprise to help students earn an associate’s degree by the end of their “13th year.”

The 12 teams are made up of people who work in higher education, secondary schools, community organizations, industry and more. They are located in 12 different states: Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

Accelerate ED is a “learning grant” designed to help employers, youth-centered community organizations, and K-12 and higher education leaders connect so they can understand, says Sarah Allan, director of early education and pathways at the Gates Foundation in the US. How to expand post-secondary opportunities for more students in their state.

“This special grant supports a lot of work that is already underway in each of these communities,” Allan told a news conference. “The challenging thing for the community is to bring together those who design coherent and holistic programs that can take advantage of these opportunities. So our funding is really to create the time and space and design capacity to do that work, to plan how to scale. ”

According to the Gates Foundation, 65 percent of jobs currently require education and training outside of high school, making post-secondary certifications a “prerequisite for greater social mobility and economic prosperity.” Alan said the grants would help 12 teams create blueprints for expanding already-successful programs in their respective states that offer 13-year associate degrees.

Ohio’s 13th year career path to success, for example, allows high school students in Dayton, Ohio to earn a certain number of college credits in their senior year to complete an associate’s degree one year later. These students are then guaranteed admission to a four-year university in the state to complete their undergraduate degree. The $ 175,000 grant will help expand the program beyond Dayton to Montgomery County and 16 surrounding districts in the state.

Thomas Lasley, interim CEO of Learn to Earn Dayton, and Professor Emeritus, dean of Dayton University and a member of the Ohio team, said the initiative gives students a low-cost opportunity to advance their education and start a career.

“As a former college dean, I’m a 13-year-old model and I’m really excited about what this will mean for our students in Dayton and Ohio,” Lasley said. “We’ve supported a career path that has reduced college costs year after year.”

Louisiana’s initiative, known as Growing Bridge Year Pathways across New Orleans, will allow three local training providers to expand their programs so that 11th and 12th graders can earn post-secondary certification. Trainers যারা who cover a variety of industries, including healthcare, engineering, manufacturing, and culinary – will use Louisiana’s 13th-year Bridge Program to pave the way for students to earn associate degrees or equivalent industry-based certifications.

The team will also work to increase enrollment in the program from 160 in 2022-23 to 250 in 2023-24 and create a guide for establishing career-technical education dual-enrollment courses for organizations across the state.

Jack Glughorn, director of strategic initiatives at the New Orleans Career Center, said the team – made up entirely of nonprofit community organizations – would create a list of resources to help students and their families navigate which path is best for them. He noted that the team’s partnership would help the four nonprofits to work together so that they could reach more students.

“How can we work together and plan and design what that system will look like and increase enrollment together instead of competing with each other for seats and students?” He said.

Austin, Tex., An initiative called Scalable Success aims to expand the Texas Pathway in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) program, which allows students to receive both a high school diploma, a technical certificate, and / or an associate’s degree. Reach out to more students across the state.

Companies represented on the Texas team include the E3 Alliance, an education partner in Austin; Austin Community College District; Four independent school districts; And others. Austin Community College will serve more than 1,000 students through a program that enables them to enter the workforce and make their credentials stackable so they can be higher if they wish, said Chrysland Fanin, executive director of the elementary-college high school and P-Tech in the Austin Independent School District. Degree.

Alan said the new Gates Foundation grant program is specifically designed to help more black and Latino students. About 60 percent of Black and Latino high school graduates are immediately enrolled in a post-secondary program, according to the foundation. Of those who enrolled, only 38 percent of black students and 46 percent of Latino students earned a post-secondary degree or certification in six years.

“This work has become even more urgent in the face of COVID-19, which has highlighted the inequalities in our education and workforce systems and illustrated the differences between the learning experience and support for students to maintain mobility from high school. After-secondary and to work and which does not, ”said Alan. “In particular, we see many black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds pursuing their dreams and choosing to support their families and work with other responsibilities.”

Martha Perham, senior vice president of public relations at the American Association of Community Colleges, said she was pleased to see the grant announced. He added that it is important to clear the way for higher education to accomplish what it can.

“At AACC, we know that access is not enough,” Perham said “We need to make sure that students can be successful and really create the models, processes and systems that allow for it. So we can clear the way for success anytime we are excited. ”

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