Bridge to College and Career Success for Houston's Opportunity Youth

The Gulf Coast region is home to 111,000 disconnected youth and young adults, individuals ages 16-24, who neither work nor attend school or college. Launched in February 2017, the Bridge to College and Career Success initiative addresses the challenges identified in a Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research study that found a high percentage of Gulf Coast disconnected youth have high school diplomas but lack access to training and higher education credentials that lead to skilled employment in local, high-demand industries. This prompted JPMorgan Chase & Co. to reach out to Educate Texas to create a program to stimulate the formation of cross-sector partnerships between community colleges, community organizations and local employers in order to design college and career programs for the disconnected youth.

Educate Texas awarded planning grants to eight partnerships throughout the Gulf Coast region, to support their design of community-based programs to attract, train and place skilled youth and young adults in local, high-demand industries. Grantees also received program-development support from Jobs for the Future, a national nonprofit that focuses on building opportunities for underserved populations. Objectives included:

  • Equipping participating organizations and companies to better serve this population
  • Building strong, sustained, cross-organizational partnerships that optimize shared resources
  • Leveraging these partnerships to support participants through program completion — either a higher education credential or job placement with career-growth potential

In the next phase, the steering committee of regional and statewide experts has identified a select group of the newly planned programs to further support through funding from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and  Trellis Foundation. Selected partnerships will receive continued technical assistance from Jobs for the Future, and a broader learning network has also been developed for local participating organizations to share resources and best practices.

Implementation Partnerships

Community-Based Organizations and Community College Planning Partnerships

Grant Recipient

Description of Innovation

Capital IDEA

“Career Your Way” emphasizes self-discovery, career exploration, whole-person development and academic preparation for empowered decision making for postsecondary or employment opportunities

Project GRAD

Introducing “GRADcaf√© on the GO”, a mobile advising center that provides accessible, ongoing and intensive supports and expands college and career advising for Houston Community College “stop-outs”. Reengaging “stop-outs” in successful completion of relevant college credentials and career paths

Community-Based Training Provider and Employer Planning Partnerships

Grant Recipient

Description of Innovation

SER - Jobs for Progress of the Texas Gulf Coast

Using Community-Based Training Provider as “employer of record” for paid internships and work-based learning; Employer involved in curriculum development and ongoing mentorship

Baylor College of Medicine Teen Health Clinics

Meeting high demand for middle-skill employees at Texas Medical Center through developing training, work-based learning and job placement

Houston Opportunity Youth Resources

National Opportunity Youth Resources