As classroom teachers and leaders of K-12 education systems, we came to understand that setting students up for success meant thinking beyond graduation rates. Every year, we saw students graduate with immense potential—and every year, too many of those students floundered. They had completed high school successfully, but were left without a viable, affordable pathway to a strong first job. They had been presented with a false choice: forgo income and accrue significant debt while pursuing a traditional 2- or 4-year degree; or forgo education for low-wage work without upward mobility.
At the same time, we came to know the people leading companies, community colleges, and high schools in the communities where we worked. We realized they held the power to build an affordable connection between high school graduation and a good first job. If done right, this connection could grow to scale in rural and urban communities alike. We founded Propel America to help make this possibility a reality.
Propel America links those high schools, companies, and community colleges to build pathways from high school graduation to an upwardly-mobile first job. We then empower students with the skills, experiences, credentials, and social networks necessary to use those pathways. We’ve begun piloting such routes to middle-skill jobs in healthcare and construction in Louisiana and South New Jersey. But our dream and charge extend nationwide. We believe local communities throughout our country will build these connections between high school graduates and prosperous life opportunities. So we have set out to develop a scalable, cost-effective model that can be used in any community, urban or rural, red or blue. We will connect young people to powerful opportunities and help employers build phenomenal teams.
We have a great deal to learn on this journey. You have already contributed to making it possible. We hope you will take a minute to learn more about our work. In the meantime, we couldn’t be more excited about pursuing this vision for what communities can achieve for the next generation of Americans.
John White, Chairman
Paymon Rouhanifard, CEO