$250K Boost for Youth Solutions Unit at Kinexus of Benton Harbor

In hot pursuit of raising the high school graduation rate to 90-percent by the year 2020, the change agents at Kinexus picked up a huge boost this week from America’s Promise Alliance in the form of a quarter-million dollar grant to continue funding of the organization’s Jobs for Michigan Graduates programming.

America’s Promise Alliance, with generous support from AT&T, recently announced that Youth Solutions, Inc. has been awarded a GradNation Acceleration Grant, as part of the GradNation campaign to raise the high school graduation rate. Youth Solutions, Inc. is one of five state and community grant recipients around the country that are poised to accelerate progress for more young people to high school graduation and postsecondary success.

Totaling $800,000 across all five grantees, Youth Solutions, Inc. will receive $250,000 over two years to fund statewide Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) programming aimed at building Michigan’s youth talent pipeline. With the Michigan graduation rate currently at 79.6-percent, support from this grant will help Youth Solutions, Inc. to reach over 4,500 at-risk young people across 45+ Michigan cities over the next two years.

JMG programming targets successful graduation from high school and transition into meaningful employment opportunities, with 98-percent of the program’s participants from the Class of 2016 graduating and 91-percent going onto a positive outcome, inclusive of employment and/or post-secondary education.

Kristin Harrington is Executive Director of Youth Solutions. She says, “Youth Solutions, Inc. envisions a Michigan where all young people are educated, employed, and career-bound. Yet, nearly 11,000 young people are dropping out of Michigan high schools each year.” She notes, “Our Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates programming has a proven track-record of keeping these young people in school and helping them to obtain a high school diploma. What’s more? We make sure our graduates are prepared to enter the workforce upon earning their diploma, which is a win for Michigan youth, employers, and the communities that we serve. We’re incredibly proud that America’s Promise Alliance recognized this ‘win’ and selected us to participate in their GradNation Acceleration grant.”

Applications for the grant were submitted from 10 priority states that would have a measurable impact on improving the national graduation rate and closing equity gaps. In total, there were more than 100 applicants– all committed to improving graduation rate outcomes for a specific group of students using strategies aligned to the GradNation Action Platform. The platform identifies six areas that every community should act on to accelerate the high school graduation rate.

John Gomperts is President & CEO of America’s Promise. He says, “We know that the most significant improvements in the national high school graduation rate will happen on the local level – in districts and communities working each day to meet the individual needs of young people.” He adds, “The final grantees were selected because they demonstrated a deep understanding of the specific student populations needing additional support and have a track record for maximizing the resources and partnerships to meet those student needs.”

This work of the GradNation campaign is a continuation of a decade-long undertaking. During that time, the national graduation rate has increased from 73-percent to its current all-time high of 84.1-percent. That 10-percent increase represents the more than 2 million additional young people who were able to graduate from high school with their class over the past decade.

The intended outcomes for this work include:

  • An increase to the graduation rate
  • Shared learning for adoption and replication in other states and communities
  • Strengthened local capacity to improve outcomes for young people based on their needs and strengths.

To learn more, visit: http://gradnation.americaspromise.org/gradnation-acceleration-grant.

America’s Promise Alliance leads an alliance of organizations, communities and individuals dedicated to making the promise of America real for every child. As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90-percent by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce.

Youth Solutions, Inc. is a premier youth opportunity organization impacting Michigan’s graduation rate and building the youth talent pipeline into employment. Its leading program, Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates, delivers employability and education services to more than 2,700 young people across 40+ cities. For more information about Youth Solutions, Inc. or to become a partner, you can visit their website at www.ouryouthsolutions.org. You can also follow us on Twitter at JobsforMIGrads or “like” us on Facebook at JobsforMichigansGraduates.