- On Tuesday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a series of six-month grants totaling about $ 175,000 each to support regional development efforts to increase double enrollment and early college credits.
- Dozens of groups of organizations across the country are receiving grants as part of an initiative the foundation calls Accelerate ED: Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers. Students should be able to earn enough credit to complete a junior specialist degree one year after high school, while earning career experience with little or no expense, according to the foundation. These pathways are designed to lead to good work or allow students to move on to a bachelor’s program.
- The grants are designed to enable leaders to identify what works in different communities, and identify what elements can be scaled to be effective in broader partnerships between higher education, K-12 and employers.
Representatives of the Gates Foundation have made new efforts as part of their work to promote education and work ecosystems in which student success is not related to race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status. This also fits into the emphasis of the foundation value higher education.
Blacks, Hispanics, Hispanics and low-income families have long faced tougher labor market and educational outcomes. The pandemic has dealt an additional blow to the prospects of many college students, and has exacerbated inequality in the workplace.
In the fall of 2021, about 1 million fewer students were enrolled in higher education than in the fall of 2019, according to the National Research Center for Student Information Center said earlier this year. Community colleges have suffered the most. And throughout the pandemic, showed figures those employees who are most affected include low-income, black and Hispanic workers.
According to the foundation, nearly two-thirds of jobs require some training after high school.
The foundation argues that early college, career and dual education can help boost high school graduation rates and higher education. Students who can earn certificates or diplomas that are in demand in the job market can improve their economic mobility, said Sarah Alan, director of early learning and pathways at the Gates Foundation, during a conference Tuesday.
“One of the main goals of consolidation that you see in our broader educational work is the concept of value, the idea that our education systems need to be designed to deliver value to students when they make their way,” Alan said.
More than 50 different groups applied for grants. The 12 selected teams consist of K-12 leaders, senior officials, employers and NGOs. The consulting firm Education Strategy Group will take part in the development.
Groups that win grants located in Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Texas and Utah. Although each group operates in different regional economies, grant recipients often include several sectors: healthcare, information technology, advanced manufacturing and training.
“It was really interesting to see that there are actually common points in terms of sectoral focus,” Alan said.