Accelerate America: A Jobs-First Higher Ed Partnership
COVID-19 has exacerbated disengagement among recent high school graduates. Compared to last year, the number of young people from the high school class of 2020 who enrolled in college this year saw an unprecedented decline. At the same time, the unemployment rate among youth spiked during the pandemic. Today, over 4 million 16-to-24 year olds are neither working nor enrolled in school.
In response, Propel America and National Louis University have partnered to develop a jobs-first higher education model, a first-of-its-kind, affordable, flexible pathway to an immediate in-demand job and credit toward a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution. The pathway, called “Accelerate America,” offers young adults the opportunity to–with just a Pell grant and in as few as six months–start a living-wage job, gain college credits that can be applied toward future degrees, and receive career training, coaching, and support that equips them with the skills to be successful in their job and with a plan for ongoing education and career advancement.
Accelerate America currently offers a medical assistant pathway in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. By 2022, the program aims to offer three high-wage, high-demand pathways in five states that will stack into associate and eventually bachelor’s degrees.
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