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A New Pathway for the Second Chance System: Boosting PSE Outcomes for Disconnected Youth . Grantmakers for Children Youth and Families Conference Terry Grobe , Program Director Jobs for the Future Parc Smith, Chief Executive Officer American Youth Works

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A New Pathway for the Second Chance System: Boosting PSE Outcomes for Disconnected Youth

Grantmakersfor Children Youth and Families Conference

Terry Grobe, Program Director Jobs for the Future

Parc Smith, Chief Executive Officer American Youth Works

Dr. Richard Rhodes, President and CEO Austin Community College

David Doyle, Student Austin Community College



Though adult learners have high education aspirations, attainment outcomes remain dismally low.

the work
  • 34 programs in 3 national networks building BOT designs
  • All programs working closely with college partners to build, fund and sustain the models
  • JFF working helping networks build TA capacity to support this work; also helping scale BOT in other sectors (community colleges; districts)
  • Partners working together to advocate for growth of new designs using results from common reporting system
our work
  • National Networks building college connected designs useJFF’s BACK ON TRACK THROUGH COLLEGE FRAMEWORK


Discussion of:

  • Program work: successes/challenges
  • College partnership work: successes/challenges
  • Partnership: issues/benefits
  • Value of work: student perspective


  • Common report system collects data on 1,769 youth—64% African-American; 16% Hispanic; high percentages first gen students (3/4 in NYEC programs)
  • 78% had no secondary credential—79% earned diploma/GED/pse credential
  • 57% entered pse; over 60% enrolled full time
  • 70% have enrolled 2 semesters or more; half three semesters or more


  • American YouthWorks Demographics – 72% Hispanic; 16% African American; 12% White;
  • 100% had no secondary credential – 81% earned HS Diploma/GED/PSE (10% also earned CNA certification)

A unique combination of academics, hands-on job training, and community service

  • AYW PSET Initiative Mission Statement:
    • To improve the preparation for, access to and support during Post-Secondary Education and Training
enriched preparation
Enriched Preparation

Students ages 17 to 25 working towards their secondary credential (GED or HS diploma) are enrolled as AmeriCorps members working in Texas Conservation Corps, Casa Verde Builders, Clean Energy Service Corps, or Media Corps.

Academic work and personal growth is enriched by the hands-on learning opportunities through green jobs training and community service activities.

On average, students gain

3 grade levels during a term

of service.

enriched preparation1
Enriched Preparation

Program Entry

Average reading grade level 8th grade (8.3)

Average math level 8th grade (8.0)

Program Completion

Average reading level 11th grade (11.2)

Average math level 11th grade (11.0)

81.3 % of students obtained their HS diploma or GED

Grade level determine by the Test of Adult Basic Education, as reported to the Department of Labor and YouthBuildUSA


Strong Social Support

    • Many students enter the program lacking stability in their personal lives. Of the students who completed the 2011-2012 school year,
      • 59% came from households with less than $15,000.00 annual income
      • 22% were homeless or living in temporary housing situations
      • 37.5% were raising young children
      • 43.8% have a criminal history
strong social support
Strong Social Support

Americorps provides monthly stipends to students, which enables them to meet financial obligations while they are earning scholarships for college.

Support staff at AYW provide long term assistance to students and alumni

- resolving legal issues, including: clearing warrants, obtaining legal

representation, communicating with courts and judges, paying

legal fees and avoiding jail time

- obtaining state issued identification, drivers licenses, and employment


- applying for permanent affordable housing and subsidized child care

- accessing community resources for food and utility assistance

- transportation

- creating internship opportunities and developing employment skills

(resumes, application assistance, interviewing, business clothing, etc)

post secondary bridging building college ready skills and informed transition counseling
Post Secondary Bridging: Building college ready skills and informed transition counseling

Enhanced GED instruction including leadership skills and intensive math tutoring

Career Exploration and Aptitude activities to help students prepare an academic plan in the Post-Secondary Education setting

Counseling around personal finance and stability in order to prepare students for the time commitment needed to succeed in college while supporting themselves

Assistance with the admissions process of Austin Community College and other schools

FAFSA preparation and counseling on Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements (2.0 GPA and 67% completion rate)

College Tours

Scholarship applications including AmeriCorps Ed Awards

post secondary bridging
Post Secondary Bridging

Students are provided many opportunities to take classes on the campus of Austin Community College

Early College Start – dual credit for college classes

Bridge & Transitions to College Success classes - improve core academic skills & effective note taking and study habits

Health Sciences Corps – students can earn a Certified Nursing Assistant certificate through the Continuing Education Department of Austin Community College

Articulation Agreements – students can earn up to 23 credit hours towards

Associates degree in Construction Management at ACC (on the job training)

first year support for college success
First Year Support for College Success
  • Strategies for Promoting Academic Success and Persistence
  • - Developed strong relationships with Staff and Faculty at Austin
  • Community College
  • - Individual Counseling and Support
  • - Financial Assistance
  • - AYW alumni on campus peer support
  • and tutoring


  • BE FED
first year support for college success1
First Year Support for College Success

Building Relationships with Austin Community College Staff and Faculty

- Attending classes with students to help them understand course requirements

- Tracking student financial aid utilization, progress, and grades throughout the semester

- Connecting students to ACC

on-campus services such as

tutoring centers, Student Support

office, and Career Centers

- Creating articulation agreements

with Building Construction Technology

and Health Sciences Departments

first year support for college success2
First Year Support for College Success

Providing Individual Counseling and Tutoring

- Helping students to be organized for their classes and teaching them to communicate with professors utilizing email

and office hours;

- Teaching students how to navigate systems at ACC including the

Blackboard, Financial Aid processes, book rentals, library,

and online class assignments;

- Working with students to maintain personal stability with time management, personal budgeting, and accessing community resources;

- AYW Alumni Peer support for tutoring and other encouragement

Financial Supports to promote Post Secondary Persistence

- Child care, text books, eyeglasses, transportation, rental and utility assistance for stabilized housing, gift cards for food, etc.

challenges and success
Challenges and Success
  • CNA program demonstrated partnership’s ability to work creatively to craft programs that meet student needs (though with limited impact on PSE enrollment)
  • Articulation agreement with Building Trades Dept. creates a model that can be replicated by other service learning programs (next: Small Engine Repair Program)
  • Hiring PSE-specific staff has enhanced connections to ACC programs and resources and raised student completion of FAFSA and College Applications
  • Patience & Persistence needed to work initiatives through a large & complex bureaucracy
  • Enhanced preparation is the greatest (and most challenging) need
  • Not everything works (and that’s OK) continuous evaluation and adjustment