Highlights findings from the evaluation of the Postsecondary Success Initiative, which sought to place disconnected youth on an educational and workforce pathway through the use of partnerships between community-based organizations and community colleges.

“In 2008, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…with the Nellie Mae Foundation, funded the Postsecondary Success Initiative (PSS), a…multi‐site effort to develop…pathways to and through postsecondary education for what [are] known as “Opportunity Youth” – low‐income youth who had dropped out of…traditional education…without a high school diploma or who faced…barriers to further education and success” (p.1).

“The PSS initiative provided grants to 15…community‐based organizations (CBOs) to develop partnerships with…community colleges that would enable formerly disconnected youth to acquire a high school diploma or GED…[go to] postsecondary education or training, and persist…to graduation. The grants to local programs were made through two national program partners ‐‐ YouthBuild USA and the National Youth Employment Coalition… ‐‐ who served as…program intermediaries, selecting sites, providing training and technical assistance…, and monitoring…progress… A third partner, Jobs for the Future,…[conducted] research on promising practices, the development of service‐delivery models, support for the design of cross‐site training, and management of a leadership group” (p.1).

“In 2009, the Gates Foundation contracted with Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities to serve as the evaluation partner for the…initiative. The initial evaluation design focused on assessing the implementation of the initiative” (p.3). Three…questions guided the…evaluation:

  1. “At the local partnership level, to what extent are community‐based…organizations and community colleges able to establish…partnerships that provide…pipelines into postsecondary education for low income youth and the supports needed for a substantial percentage of those youth to attain a credential?
  2. Where effective partnerships are established, what programmatic strategies…are effective in preparing young adults for and supporting them in postsecondary education?
  3. What role can and do the intermediaries in the initiative…play in promoting…the development of effective local partnerships?” (p. 3)

 (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Creating New Pathways to Postsecondary: Evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success (PSS) Initiative