BAYADA’s Advance to LPN program and ABA Academy provide a supportive, accelerated pathway for entry-level employees to advance their healthcare careers—all while eliminating the need to assume student debt or change multiple employers to accelerate their career. Clinical coaches and mentors provide a web of pathfinding and socioemotional support to aid credential completion and help program participants contextualize their academic preparation with the hands-on, practical realities of caring for clients in their homes. Through enrolling and improving access for underserved young adults—including low-income and underrepresented groups—BAYADA aims to reduce barriers to education, employment, and economic advancement.
Winner Category: Accelerate
National Indian Education Association – “Building” Career Pathways for Native Students
The National Indian Education Association is committed to promoting education sovereignty in our communities. “Building” Career Pathways for Native Students is a middle school to post-high school pathway project that seeks to increase the number of Bowler School District students who obtain a degree or certification for construction trades to serve three Native American nations: Menominee, Stockbridge-Munsee and Ho-Chunk. Through early experiential engagement with virtual reality, high school CTE courses, a mobile construction lab, support from a community Council of Partners, and dual enrollment with College of Menominee Nation, students will have access to a living wage career which addresses the tribal housing crisis and fills a critical gap in the workforce for these three nations. For many Native American nations, initial vocational education efforts by the Federal Government were intended to ‘deculturalize’ students by removing them from their place, their values, their language and their practices. Students will get the opportunity to gain academic knowledge and professional skills in ways that align to and reflect their culture and allow them to remain in their communities. In addition to school coursework and construction clinics, community employment partners will support student practice in construction trades where they are underrepresented while also helping to increase the supply of affordable housing to combat the housing crisis prevalent in Native communities. Their vision addresses components of the secondary to college and career pipeline with coordinated action and systems thinking and draws strength from a commitment to sustainable development concepts and practices tested over centuries in the Menominee forest. Building Career Pathways for Native Students aims to support a generation of Native American youth to realize their economic potential on their own terms, and to help close indigenous wealth and achievement gaps.
Hopeworks N Camden – Hopeworks Dual Enrollment
Hopeworks is solving the problem of high schoolers who don’t finish high school and must start earning money immediately to support themselves and their families with no time for extensive postsecondary education. Hopeworks’ unique mix of training, trauma-informed care, and real-world experience leads to extraordinary results. With a focus on skill development, real-world job experience, and trauma-informed care, Hopeworks propels young adults into long-term living wage careers that put them on the path for healing and financial stability. Over 99% of young adults (aged 17-26) entering Hopeworks are unemployed, making less than $500 annually. Young adults completing the Hopeworks program make, on average, over $43,000 annually, with an over 88% 12-month retention rate in their jobs.
Research Foundation of The City University of New York – CUNY Catalyze Challenge
Future Forward is a partnership between the City University of New York (CUNY), the largest urban university in the nation, and NYC public schools, the largest school district in the nation, and the Mayor’s Office of Youth Employment, to reimagine what the transition from high school to college and career can look like. The solution draws on New York’s pioneering work in dual enrollment and early college high schools that have a proven track record in improving college enrollment and credit accumulation. Future Forward’s key elements include: rethinking career-connected instruction in the final year of high school, earning college credit through introductory courses, career awareness experiences, and credentials, and building a network of supportive adults through paid work-based learning experiences in the year after high school graduation.
Radius Learning, Inc. – Virtual Work-Based Learning
Radius is building a technology-driven workforce pathways system that increases the coordination between employers and education systems to prepare the next generation for high-opportunity careers. Through partnerships with employers, Radius analyzes jobs in demand to inform workforce pathways and connect learners to these opportunities. Workforce pathways are delivered in partnership with CTE systems to reach students who face barriers to education & economic opportunity. Students and job seekers explore jobs in
demand through virtual experiences as they embark on their career journey. Radius is currently demonstrating its pathways model in Charlotte, NC, where they have partnered with the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and more than 15 participating employers and training providers.
“Our work with Radius has had an immediate impact for our students.” – Susan Gann-Carroll, CMS CTE Director
Oregon STEM – Spark Oregon
Oregon’s Regional STEM Hub Network is a statewide ecosystem embracing the notion that education is a collective responsibility and that learning takes place throughout one’s life in all manner of settings and interactions. Hubs take the lead in catalyzing a network of regional collective impact partnerships that convene local leaders, K-20 education, afterschool programs, local industry, workforce boards, and community-based organizations serving youth.
Over 41% of Oregon youth live in rural areas where access to industry and internships is limited. Rural STEM Hubs are tasked with ensuring equitable opportunities for every student to become a part of the ever-changing innovation economy, with career-connected learning as a key strategy. Hubs empower their communities to build inclusive, sustainable, innovation-based experiences, creating opportunities for all students to fully contribute to an increasingly complex global society while addressing high-demand, competitive workforce needs through piloting programs, establishing best practices, and scaling across the state. The Catalyze Challenge award will allow for a broad spectrum of culturally relevant, career-connected paid internship opportunities, affording students the opportunity to explore career pathways across a diverse employment landscape.
Spark Oregon is modeled after Spark on 7th, launched in 2021 by Oregon’s Lane County STEM Hub. You can hear student voices sharing their experience in the pre-apprenticeship and paid internship model on this YouTube video
English language learners face barriers in the education to career system. Lacking an open educational pathway, students end up working in low-wage, often exploitative jobs, and are structurally excluded from economic mobility.
AbreTech is breaking new barriers in the education to career sector. Their model is designed specifically for multilingual learners, with carefully crafted solutions to barriers based on language and immigration status. Disrupting the “English first” status quo, their dual language career training, paid bilingual internships for high school students, and mentorship from Latinx tech professionals sets them apart. Emerging bilingual young people are capable of mastering technical career skills and 21st-century skills at the same time that they master the English language. AbreTech blurs the lines between high school, industry, and certification to build new equitable pathways to careers. Their model creates new infrastructure between high schools and districts, tech training providers, and employers. AbreTech combines the resources of career technical education in high schools, with Latinx industry mentorship networks, and the hands-on experience of professional bilingual technologists as success coaches.
AbreTech is a partnership between Cultivate Pathways, CodeSpeakLabs, and the Lynn Vocational Technical Institute (LVTI).
unCommon Construction uses the build process to empower youth with the skills, network, experience, and resources to lead the workforce. unCommon apprentices are high school students who apply to join a diverse team to earn hourly pay and school credit for building a house or another project together. The revenue from each project is used to match apprentices’ earnings with an “Equity Award” scholarship for further education and career opportunities.
Through the Catalyze Challenge award, unCommon Construction is expanding programming into a new 3-tier model in which apprentices can progress in skill level by participating in increasingly rigorous and complex projects, such as home repairs & improvements for clients or creative design-builds. On and off the build site, unCommon apprentices are positioned as leaders of one another and industry partners as they develop and demonstrate skills for success in work and life. As a result of more than 100 hours of work-based learning experience per semester, unCommon apprentices graduate on time, perform better in their academic classes, and are more likely to continue their education or obtain and maintain employment after high school.
Ella Baker Institute
In alignment with Ella Baker Institute’s commitment to community-responsive pedagogy (CRP), the Young People’s Leadership Cooperative’s approach spans CRP’s three domains: relationships, relevance and responsibility. YPLC supports young people in building the necessary relationships to take responsibility for their own communities and address issues most relevant to their lives. Through community organizing, leadership, and entrepreneurial skill development, young people engage with curriculum, participatory action research, resources, and industry connections to solve community-level issues. Rather than waiting on others to make change, YPLC positions those most proximate to community challenges to take community well-being into their own hands.
RevX, a partner of Transcend, Inc. – DEEDS
Young people, especially those from marginalized communities often take jobs they are not passionate about, jobs that have lower wages and weak career trajectories. This occurs because they learned very few career skills in school and are therefore limited in their capacity when they start working.
Our DEEDS Framework changes this by enabling schools and out of school programs to create core instruction that enables young people to “try on” a variety of career skills. The framework asks learners to identify a community challenge, create a solution, implement it, and assess the extent to which it worked.
The life of a RevX Learner: DEEDS in action might look something like this! After realizing how land development was destroying natural habitats for animals in their community, one group of learners posed the question: How can I use 3D modeling to preserve native bee habitats? They worked with a 3d modeling expert to build & implement their 3D printed habitats in hopes of increasing the bee population and strengthening their pollination efforts. Learners evaluated the success of their innovation and received feedback from their career mentor. The result? Learners who explored 3D modeling (a growing billion dollar industry) and working in the environmental industry thereby giving them more ideas about who they want to become when they get older and tangible experience they could add to a portfolio of skills.