For more than 30 years, the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education’s Career Beginnings program has been connecting Hartford-area high schools, businesses, volunteers/mentors and parents in a coordinated effort to ensure that more teenagers pursue higher education and fulfill their career goals. Career Beginnings works with students at 11 high schools in Hartford, Bloomfield, Manchester and East Hartford offering: workshops on the college admission paperwork process, one-on-one advising from staff, college visits and counseling, and volunteer mentors who work with students through their first year of college. Of the 288 Career Beginnings Hartford students in the Class of 2017, more than 95 percent were accepted to college and their enrollment rate was 73 percent, which 10 percent higher than the district average.
In an effort to expand this work, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant to enable the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education to offer its Career Beginnings program at all Hartford high schools, with the addition of New Visions High School. These funds will be used to increase participation in programming, targeting students who have not self-identified as college bound in an effort to change their academic and career trajectory.
‘The Consortium has long been committed to improving post-secondary success for underserved and under-represented students in this region,” said Hartford Consortium Executive Director Martin Estey. “We all have a vested interest in ensuring that all our young people have equitable access to post-secondary opportunities as well as the support they need to make and execute plans after high school. Our region absolutely depends upon fostering the talent we have here. The Consortium is proud to play our part, and we appreciate the support of the Foundation to help us meet our goals.”
The Consortium is working to expand Career Beginnings to provide low-income students and students of color access to key information and options related to post-secondary career pathways. The project will create a user-friendly map of all the college programs in the area that prepare students for specific careers and describes the academic programs which provide credentials toward that career. This includes bachelors and associates degrees as well as professional certifications. The map will include other important information for students to consider such as salary ranges and employment demand for each career, as well as the duration, cost, prerequisites, and admissions selectivity of each program.
In addition to the career pathways map, the Consortium is developing and deepening relationships with key personnel at post-secondary programs to more effectively counsel students. The organization is also working to recruit employers to participate in further developing these career pathways beginning in high school. Through Career Beginnings, the Consortium will enter schools for career days and host groups at employer sites for job shadows. Through their Junior Apprentice program, the organization will work with employers to give students even deeper exposure through paid professional internships, which are supported by in-school career readiness work provided by Consortium staff.
“The Hartford Foundation is focused on investing in efforts to reduce barriers to employment for low-income and low-skilled residents as well as eliminating barriers to student progress in schools,” said Hartford Foundation Senior Community Investments Officer Michael Wotorson. “This grant will allow the Hartford Consortium to build on the success of the Career Beginnings program by providing more students with opportunities to learn about and experience career opportunities and chart pathways to achieve their academic and professional goals.”
About the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $758 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.