In our work, we talk about the importance of holistic support in student success. In Gateway to College programs, that support often comes in the form of a caring and highly trained staff member who helps students navigate life challenges that occasionally get in the way of graduation and career plans. On a larger scale, we know that when entire communities work together, their young people succeed. Out of school and out of work youth need this community-based holistic support to help them finish school and find a pathway to success.
This month, 29 major U.S. companies stepped up in a manner rarely seen before, with a commitment to hire 100,000 out of school and out of work youth by 2018. These young people – identified as opportunity youth – often face systemic barriers to jobs and education. Gateway to College was created in part to provide a pathway around these barriers for young people. We applaud the commitment of companies such as Starbucks and Alaska Airlines, and funders like the Schultz Family Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The impact of hiring 100,000 out of school and out of work youth is remarkable. Perhaps more importantly, these young people have companies that believe in them. This belief will grow exponentially as more companies, foundations, local leaders and donors realize that a commitment to out of school and out of work youth is a wise investment for not only their communities, but the companies that hire these young people. In April, GtCNN’s Director of Development, Lauren Johnson, and Gateway student, Tekoa Hewitt, of Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan, were in Seattle with the National Council of Youth Leaders as this visionary commitment was first being discussed. Gateway to College looks forward to working with these local and national partners to provide more pathways to meaningful postsecondary credentials and future employment opportunity.