Gates funds post-secondary effort

Post-secondary partnerships
Post-secondary partnerships

RALEIGH, N.C. — A community partnership in Raleigh led by N.C. State University has been awarded a $1.3 million grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch its plans to help that aims to help more low-income young adults get post-secondary degrees.

And a partnership in Charlotte led by Foundation for the Carolinas is developing plans for a similar initiative and will submit a proposal to the Gates Foundation in September for up to $1.3 million to put those plans into effect.

The Raleigh project joins two others in Amarillo and Brownsville, Texas, that previously received seven-month planning grants from the Gates Foundation and now have received grants to launch their projects.

MDC, a Chapel Hill think-tank that focuses on improving educational and economic opportunities throughout the U.S., has received $2.4 million in grants from Gates grant to lead the national three-year initiative and will continue to provide coaching and technical support to the participating partnerships.

The national Partners for Postsecondary Success initiative is part of the Gates Foundation’s post-secondary strategy to double the number of adults ages 16 to 26 who earn a post-secondary credential with labor-market value by 2025.

A report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University estimates 63 percent of all job openings over the next seven years will require post-secondary education or training, MDC says.

The local Gates-funded projects aim to strengthen and build partnerships, to engage the local community to raise awareness about post-secondary completion rates, and to remove barriers that block students from supports they need to succeed.

The Raleigh partnership, which must raise $240,000 in funds to match the Gates grant, includes local colleges and universities, the local public schools, city and county government, United Way of the Greater Triangle, Capital Area Workforce Development board, and other local partners.

The Raleigh effort includes a summer program at two high schools to help students learn about educational options after graduation; campus programs that provide mentoring, work-based learning opportunities, and assistance with preparation of resumes and for job interviews; and city centers that offer walk-in advice about applying to college, securing financial aid and finding opportunities for on-the-job training.

“Too often those living in poverty must overcome significant obstacles to a post-secondary education that is the gateway to living-wage employment,” David Dodson, president of MDC, says in a statement. “To build a well-trained and highly educated workforce for a new generation of jobs, communities must connect more low-income young adults to the resources necessary for academic success beyond high school.”

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