By NNPA Education Awareness Program
What if students in every high school had the opportunity to take an additional year of courses related to a career of their interest, earn enough college credits to finish an associate degree by year 13, and be well-prepared for a great job or further education towards a bachelor’s degree — all at no cost?
This vision is possible, but unfortunately millions of students currently lack access to quality career-connected learning opportunities and supports that allow them to make informed decisions about their future and successfully transition from high school to post-secondary and into the workforce.
To meet this challenge, K-12 districts, higher education institutions, employers, nonprofits and community leaders across the country are working together to co-design pathway models that start in high school and offer integrated career-connected courses and work experiences that lead to a post-secondary credential of value by the end of high school.
As students grapple with the impact of COVID-19 on their education journey, now is the time to accelerate this work and extend these opportunities to all students, especially Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds who have historically had less access to these types of programs.
That’s why the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is proud to announce a new initiative called Accelerate[ED]: Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers.
Accelerate[ED] is a grant opportunity that seeks to bring together 12 regional design teams of stakeholders from the K-12 and post-secondary systems to:
1. Design accessible career pathways that support students in earning 30 college credits by the end of high school, and;
2. Guide students into career-aligned courses, leading to an associate degree by the 13th year.
Frontline Solutions, on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is requesting proposals from organizations engaged in scaling career connected accelerated post-secondary pathways efforts at the regional and state level with a focus on serving Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds. These pathways should be aligned to regional workforce sectors that have strong demand and paths to economic mobility.
Accelerate[ED] will support up to 12 regional design teams, led by regional intermediaries, with planning grants to design a large-scale pathway strategy for their region. Design teams will receive up to $175,000 in grant funds to support their participation and planning activities.
Learn more about this grant opportunity at https://www.accelerate-ed.org/