PJ staff report
RALEIGH, N.C. – With money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, low-income young people in the Raleigh and Charlotte areas will have access to higher education and the higher-paying jobs it provides.
N.C. State University and Foundation for the Carolinas are among four sites in North Carolina and Texas that have received a seven-month planning grant from the foundation’s Partners for Postsecondary program to design initiatives to dramatically increase the number of low-income young adults receiving post-high school degrees or certificates.
As part of the planning process, each community will assess the current and former status of low-income young adults with the goal of helping improve performance of higher-education and training efforts, increasing partnerships between education and business, and identifying new pathways to good jobs for students.
And if the planning process is completed successfully, each site will receive an additional $1.5 million over two years to implement their initiatives.
Currently, about 63 percent of job openings over the next eight years will require education or training beyond high school, says a study from Georgetown University, but fewer than 40 percent of Americans ages 25 to 64 have a associate degree or higher.
“It is imperative for disadvantaged communities across the South, and the nation, to create avenues for opportunity for these young adults,” says David Dodson, president of MDC Inc., a Chapel Hill nonprofit that received a $1.8 million grant from the Gates Foundation to lead the Partners for Postsecondary Success program. “The global competitiveness of our nation is dependent upon it.”
The Amarillo Area Foundation will manage the effort in Amarillo, Texas, and United Way of Southern Cameron County is the lead organization for efforts in Brownsville, Texas.