Community colleges are working with dropout recovery programs to help uneducated youths get back on track, reports Community College Times.
Back on Track, which offers academic and social supports, is a project of Jobs for the Future (JFF), YouthBuild USA, the National Youth Employment Coalition(NYEC), and the Corps Network, with support from the Gates Foundation and Open Society Foundations.
In Ohio, faculty from Columbus State Community College (CSCC) teach courses at a YouthBuild school. The college has also worked out an articulation agreement with the program to provide for a smooth transition, said Mike Snider, former provost of CSCC who now works with the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.
Public two-year colleges in Ohio are “proud of our open door system,” Snider said, “but that’s not good enough. We’re moving the door out into the community.”
“Dropouts are an untapped asset,” he added. “We cannot afford to lose potential productive citizens.”
Back on Track students “are graduating from high school, enrolling in postsecondary education and persisting in the first year at two to three times the rate of their peers,” according to JFF.
NYEC, which provides education, work experiences and counseling to drop-outs, also claims a high success rate. Eight community colleges are working with NYEC programs in partnership with community-based organizations.
In Texas, the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District has partnered with South Texas College to create the College, Career and Technology Academy, which allows former dropouts to complete their high school diplomas while taking community college courses. The program targets youths up to age 26 who lack five or fewer credits or failed their high school exit exam.
The 31,000-student school district has reduced the number of dropouts from 485 in 2005-06 to 42 in 2010-11.