College Access and Afterschool Programs: Perfect Together?

March 13, 2013

Two NCAN members participated in a Feb. 8 briefing at the U.S. Capitol on “Fostering College and Career Readiness through Afterschool and Expanded Learning Opportunities,” hosted by the American Youth Policy Forum. The briefing illustrated how college access programs and out-of-school-time programs, which have traditionally thought of themselves as quite different, can integrate their efforts to increase college access and success.  The Starfish Initiative, in Indianapolis, Indiana, provides four years of support to promising low-income students through programming that includes dedicated mentors, college campus visits and college and career readiness assessments. Eighty-two percent of Starfish program participants have graduated from college or are still enrolled.  The Indiana Statewide Afterschool Network, in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana Commission on Higher Education, has made college and career readiness an explicit aim in its statewide efforts through the development of college and career readiness afterschool standards and other tools to help afterschool programs across the state. After School Matters, in Chicago, Illinois, provides project-based apprenticeship opportunities for public high school students through a network of public-private partnerships that enable students to gain valuable career exposure and skill development. For more information about afterschool programs and career-college readiness, see this recent article by Betsy Brand and Andrew Valent of the American Youth Policy Forum, which highlights the work of NCAN member Citizen Schools.

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