By Pat Roe, Senior Program Director, USA Funds
Education is a catalyst for stronger communities. By facilitating the important connection between college and career, schools and organizations can play a key role in ensuring that local citizens have rewarding careers and fulfilling lives.
But this path to college Completion With a Purpose℠ starts long before college or career. It starts with students’ graduating from high school already prepared for higher education or the workforce.
It starts with reimagining high school.
USA Funds® is sponsoring initiatives that help high school students from all walks of life make the connection between the careers that will enrich their lives — and the future of their community — and the education and workplace experiences those careers require.
In the Indianapolis area, where USA Funds is headquartered, this support builds on our decades-long commitment to programs and partnerships that improve the quality of life in our community and benefit local students and families.
We support schools and organizations that employ innovative, measurable approaches to:
- Helping students discover their career interests and aptitudes.
- Fostering enthusiasm for disciplines leading to careers that are in high demand, such as those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
- Providing programs that help students explore careers, such as job shadowing and internships.
- Establishing guided educational pathways that prepare students for the career fields they plan to pursue.
- Coaching, mentoring, tutoring and advising, to encourage commitment to high school completion and preparation for higher education or the workforce.
Our reimagining high school focus has included sponsorships for Indianapolis college- and career-preparatory programs such as:
- Center for Leadership Development — As part of its work to increase college enrollment, persistence and graduation rates for African-American youth, the CLD offers the College Prep Institute to provide programs that include academic coaching and counseling, career assessment services, and internships.
- Christel House Academy — The College and Careers Program of Christel House Academy is incorporating mentoring, leadership training and college visits into its programming to prepare students for postsecondary education and the workplace.
- Indiana Latino Institute — ILI’s education program works to advance the Indiana Latino community through initiatives including college access programs, college coaching, scholarships, job fairs and internships.
- KIPP Indy Public Schools — KIPP Through College provides in-depth college and career coaching from kindergarten through postsecondary education completion, to ensure that students complete college prepared for the workforce.
- La Plaza — Through efforts like its Tu Futuro program, La Plaza offers college preparatory workshops, college visits, leadership development and mentoring opportunities to help Latino families succeed in the workforce and the community.
- Providence Cristo Rey High School — The school’s work study program offers students year-round internship experiences as part of their academic curriculum, giving them the opportunity to earn college credit for their work experiences.
- Starfish Initiative — The Starfish Initiative offers mentoring; leadership training; college access, admission and retention programming; and college- and career-exploratory services for economically disadvantaged students.
These programs already are making a real difference for the high school students they serve. But as part of USA Funds’ reimagining high school efforts, we’re hoping their work can have an even bigger impact in the years to come. We will be learning from these schools’ and organizations’ successes as we look to put their best practices to work even more broadly to benefit students and families — and the future of our community.