AT&T Contribution Helps YouthBuild USA Expand Postsecondary Pathways for Low-Income Youth

27 May 2014 | AT&T

Tagged: Possibilities, News, Aspire,

YouthBuild USA announces that AT&T made a $300,000 two-year contribution to increase opportunities for low-income youth who have previously dropped out of high school to prepare for college and pursue meaningful careers. The gift will do this by increasing the YouthBuild Postsecondary Pathways Initiative from 19 to 24 local programs in communities across the country.

In local YouthBuild programs, low-income young people ages 16-24 work toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while learning job skills. They receive hands-on training by building affordable, increasingly eco-friendly housing in their communities while preparing for postsecondary success and employment.

Through the Postsecondary Pathways initiative, participating YouthBuild programs partner with community colleges, technical colleges, and other postsecondary institutions to increase the number of low-income young people going to, staying in, and completing college or other postsecondary training. The critical elements to YouthBuild USA’s postsecondary access and success strategies are enriched academic preparation, intensive bridge programming elements to improve transitions into college, and comprehensive social and emotional support through college completion.

“We are thrilled to be working with YouthBuild to expand the Postsecondary Pathways initiative and provide the opportunity for more students to get the hands-on experience and quality education they need to be college and career ready.”

Sixty-five percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by 2020. While high school graduation rates may be on the rise, only one in ten youth from low-income families go on to graduate from a four-year college, compared with over a quarter of youth from middle-income families and half of youth from high-income families.

The YouthBuild USA postsecondary pathways initiative has demonstrated enormous success over the last five years by more than doubling the access rate to postsecondary education of YouthBuild students at participating programs. According to an independent research study by Brandeis University to evaluate the first seven locations of YouthBuild, 61% of YouthBuild graduates in these programs enrolled in college or other postsecondary training. Of those who entered college, 70% stayed in college for two semesters or more. These results compare well with those for community college students nationally, despite the fact that the postsecondary pathways initiative focuses on a highly disadvantaged youth population.

“We are pleased that with AT&T’s support, we will be expanding the number of YouthBuild students that have the opportunity to seek and complete their postsecondary education, enter meaningful careers, and become leaders in their communities. There are currently 6.7 million 16-24 year olds who are not currently connected to school or work in this country. We have a moral obligation and economic imperative to reconnect these opportunity youth to meaningful pathways for them to lead in school, work, and communities,” said Dorothy Stoneman, CEO and founder of YouthBuild USA.

“At AT&T, we seek out innovative ways to prepare young people with the skills and tools necessary to succeed in the 21st century,” said Nicole Anderson, executive director of philanthropy, AT&T. “We are thrilled to be working with YouthBuild to expand the Postsecondary Pathways initiative and provide the opportunity for more students to get the hands-on experience and quality education they need to be college and career ready.”

The five new participating programs and their postsecondary partners include:

YouthBuild Program


Postsecondary Partner

YouthBuild Lake County

Lake County, IL

College of Lake County 

Heart of Oregon YouthBuild

Redmond, OR

Central Oregon Community College

YouthBuild Schenectady

Schenectady, NY

Schenectady County Community College

ReSource YouthBuild

Burlington, VT

Community College of Vermont

South Los Angeles YouthBuild

Los Angeles, CA

LA Trade Tech College

Each of these local YouthBuild programs will receive AT&T funding and additional support provided by a New Profit Inc. grant through the Social Innovation Fund at the Corporation for National and Community Service to YouthBuild USA. With the support of AT&T and New Profit, these programs will provide more intentional pathways for YouthBuild graduates to transition into and succeed in postsecondary education, including two- and four-year colleges, one-year technical colleges, and registered apprenticeships that connect young people to meaningful career opportunities. 

The support from AT&T is part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s $350 million commitment to help more students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers.

This post originially appeared on YouthBuild's site on May 27, 2014. 

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