Ensuring that academic success is available to all our students remains a challenge for our region. The longer this remains unchecked, our future as a strong regional economy remains at risk. Locally, students experience unacceptable disparities in access to educational opportunity whether during school or after. This is especially true among young men within African American and Latino/Hispanic communities. By Preparing Students to Succeed in the New Economy, the Foundation is taking a thoughtful, intentional approach in addressing this issue to provide equitable access to a quality education for all.
Through this initiative's Capital Area Promise Scholars program, we work with highly effective nonprofits to increase the number of local young people attending – and graduating from – four-year colleges.
Key areas of focus can make a huge difference in outcomes for local students: building social and emotional learning programs, identifying challenges and creating interventions as early as 3rd and no later than 5th grades, and creating access to college and other vocational education while ensuring completion of this education are examples. These efforts, grounded in data, offer the greatest chance for our youth to graduate from high school, to enter and complete college or other career learning pathways, and attain the skills required in the new economy to be fully employed and find fulfillment and enjoy a flourishing life.
Research has demonstrated that most local students are not college-ready when they graduate high school, and that the majority of local students are from backgrounds the traditionally face the greatest barriers to college completion. We also know that we need more college graduates to remain economically competitive: California faces a projected shortage of 1 million college-educated workers by 2025, according to College Futures Foundation.
To address those realities, we have partnered with nonprofits through our Capital Area Scholars Program to work with “forgotten middle” youth in high-need areas, preparing them for college attainment and completion, and improving their access to federal and state financial aid and scholarships. Additionally, with support from College Futures Foundation, we have begun granting strategic, need-based scholarships that comprehensively support college success to our Scholars – all part of our effort to improve educational outcomes for underserved students.
At our annual Summer Institute for Capital Area Promise Scholars, local high school students develop skills to get to – and through – college.
The Foundation's program that aims to increase college completion rates among local students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.