As a new crop of college graduates joins the American workforce, unemployment rates among minorities with degrees remain distinctly elevated and their economic prospects disproportionately dimmed.
DALLAS, TX, June 30, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — Uplift Education was built on a promise that 100% of our students graduate high school and get through college successfully. Uplift classrooms are joyful spaces, where dedicated teachers share their enthusiasm for learning and challenge their students to excel. We believe that by offering intensive and highly regarded International Baccalaureate academics and building strong relationships with families, our Uplift graduates and those who follow will go to and graduate from college.
We are as committed as ever to doing whatever it takes to help all our students matriculate, persist, and graduate from college, if that is the path they choose. This has been our promise from the start. We have always wanted our students to have the freedom, choices, and security we believe a college degree can uniquely provide. Over time, we have gained insight into challenges students from low-income backgrounds face when pursuing higher education, as well as factors that help them succeed.
Each year hundreds of thousands of low-income students face barriers to college access and success. Low-income students often lack the guidance and support they need to prepare for college, apply to the best-fit schools, apply for financial aid, enroll and persist in their studies, and ultimately graduate. As a result, large gaps remain in educational achievement between students from low-income families and their high-income peers. Even the lowest performing students from high-income backgrounds graduate college at a higher rate than the highest-performing students from underserved communities. That means a student’s family circumstances, a factor beyond his or her control, often determines his or her path in life. Increasing college opportunity is not just an economic imperative, but a reflection of our values. We need to reach, inspire, and empower every student, regardless of background, to make sure that opportunities exist for individuals of all backgrounds to excel and advance.
With structured supports to and through college, our students can reach college graduation day. For students from underserved communities, too many unique obstacles often stand in the way of a college degree; they cannot go at it alone. We help Uplift students find colleges that are the right fit for them and provide continued support as our alumni integrate socially and academically on campus and navigate the financial hurdles of earning a college degree.
Because of this work, Uplift students, 88% of whom are African American or Latino and more than 82% of whom qualify for free or reduced price lunch, already are earning college degrees at a higher level than the average of all students across the nation. They are earning college degrees at a rate four times higher than comparable students. In addition, 78% of our students are the first in their families to attend college, so earning a bachelor’s degree means blazing a trail, confronting financial risks and an unfamiliar challenge. These are remarkable accomplishments! This shows that a child’s family circumstance does not have to determine his or her destiny. With the right resources, and support, Uplift students can and do finish college, earning themselves access to greater career choices and opportunities.
Last year Uplift hosted our annual fundraiser, Dinner & Dialogue, to support our Road To College & Career Program. We brought in author Paul Tough to share about his book, The Years that Matter Most: How College Makes Us or Breaks Us. The research Tough conducted and conclusions he came to over the ten years he wrote the book are closely aligned with the work we are doing here at Uplift and it was powerful to hear the reinforcement through the stories he shared from across the country. Tough relies on empirical research to explain the economic disparities threatening higher education’s promotion of social mobility.
Uplift is ahead of the curve with our robust Road to College & Career program that supports our students and families as they prepare to apply for, enroll in, and graduate from college. This program has a track record of 100% college acceptance and has two main goals: (1) 70% of our alumni graduating college within 6 years and (2) 90% of Uplift graduates earning an economically viable post-secondary credential and career pathway.
Uplift has recently added Career Exploration & Experience and Career Services as added initiatives within the RTCC program. Career Exploration and Experience aims to provide scholars with meaningful ways through programming and opportunities to experience careers across a broad spectrum of industries. Uplift started this by focusing each secondary grade level on a specific area of career development to encourage career exposure and experiential learning. Our hope is that by exposing students to different career pathways in high school and developing their career readiness skills, they will make well informed college and career decisions.
As a part of this preparation, Uplift partners with local companies to sponsor career trips and job shadow opportunities for our scholars. Many Uplift students have not had adequate exposure to the vast array of opportunities that exist in corporate careers, and we know that high school years are critical for our students as they start to think about what their post-secondary path will look like.
The Alumni Career Services offers ongoing career development resources and opportunities every month as well as 1:1 career support for alumni enrolled in college, stop outs, and recent graduates which includes Resume and CV Building/Editing Prep, Interview Preparation, Targeted Job Searching, Cover Letter Editing, Networking opportunities.
Uplift will launch a remote summer internship program in various departments (Project Management, Communications/Development/Marketing, Operations, Health Services/ SEL) within the Uplift network- a Charter School Growth Fund-funded initiative- to hire our talented alumni as interns and to create opportunities for them to participate in weekly career development programming. More than 50 alumni have applied for the roles this week alone. Uplift is also partnering with RelyOn Credit Union to hire an alumnus for a remote summer project management internship for their company and hope to model this internship pipeline with other corporate partners in years to come.
Uplift Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the lives of teachers, families, and, most importantly, students. With a network of 43 college preparatory, public charter schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Uplift offers students of any background the powerful chance to study within a multidisciplinary curriculum and prepare for the college career they deserve. Uplift is the largest International Baccalaureate district in Texas and the #2 IB district in the nation because of the number of holistic extracurricular and educational programs. The incredible educators in the Uplift network guide and teach nearly 20,000 students in Pre-K- 12th grades, with the majority being low-income and minority students who will be the first in their family to attend college. For more information Uplift’s mission and their blind lottery selection system, visit uplifteducation.org or facebook.com/uplifteducation.
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