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Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Community Partners Announce New Collaborative Cradle-to-Career Initiative | Politics

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Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Community Partners Announce New Collaborative Cradle-to-Career Initiative
Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Community Partners Announce New Collaborative Cradle-to-Career Initiative


From Robert Marus: Mayor Vincent C. Gray joined leaders from the government, private, philanthropic and non-profit sectors today in unveiling Raise DC, the District’s comprehensive new cradle-to-career initiative. The effort, which lays out a set of measurable outcomes and targets to ensure that all District youth are career-ready by age 24, joins a national movement of cities working to bring together a cross-sector group of leaders organized around a set of common goals and committed to using data to drive improvements.


“We must prepare our young people for our city’s emerging economy by ensuring that our homegrown talent is ready to compete for jobs in our many growth industries,” Mayor Gray said. “Marked by a core set of outcomes and transparent targets that we will use to measure and communicate progress, Raise DC lays out a clear roadmap and a collaborative strategy for achieving this goal together.”


The Raise DC effort helps fulfill a commitment the Mayor made in his State of the District address to better prepare D.C. residents for the New Economy his administration is helping to build in the District through innovation and economic-development efforts.


“With a vision for ‘Prepared Youth, Productive Residents and Thriving Communities,’ Raise DC reflects our deepest hopes for a city where all young people achieve success. And it is our responsibility to give them the support and opportunities that they need from start to finish in order for this to become a reality,” said Deputy Mayor for Education De’Shawn Wright, who is co-chairing the effort. His office has worked to pull together the core group of city officials and business, non-profit, philanthropic and community leaders charged with shaping the initiative.


This core group has coalesced around the belief that the District is poised to be recognized for having a top-notch educational system and community supports that prepare every child to achieve success from infancy through early adulthood. They point to the fact that there are over 700,000 jobs in the District but only 332,000 adult D.C. residents in the labor force as one indicator of the vast potential and opportunity that exists.


The work of Raise DC will be driven by a collective commitment to achieve the following outcomes:


·         Having baseline data that will tell us what percentage of our children enter kindergarten meeting expected educational and developmental benchmarks by the fall of 2013;

·         Increasing the percentage of students who graduate from high school in four years from 59 percent to 70 percent by 2017;

·         Reconnecting 3,000 youth (ages 16-24) who are currently not working or in school to education, training or job opportunities by 2014;

·         Increasing the percentage of students who graduate with a college degree within 6 years from 30 percent to 40 percent by 2017;

·         Increasing the percentage of students who earn an industry-recognized license/certification through the Community College of the District of Columbia from 36 percent to 60 percent by 2017; and

·         Increasing the percentage of youth ages 20-24 who are employed from 56 percent to 66 percent by 2017.


In addition to developing key target goals, in the coming months the Raise DC partnership will bring together additional stakeholders and identify change networks that will align existing initiatives on the ground to drive progress towards these outcomes. Raise DC will also issue a baseline data report in the fall of 2012 to set the foundation for the partnership’s first full data report card, scheduled for the fall of 2013.


Raise DC is also developing a local survey sponsored by Capital One to determine the best strategies for long-term engagement of the corporate sector with the effort. “At Capital One, we believe that public-private partnerships that support education and school readiness are not only good for our children but are vital to the continuing economic health of our communities,” said Daniel Horgan, Senior Director of Community Affairs for Capital One, and a member of the Raise DC Executive Team.


“We have failed as a city to bring our ample resources to bear in a way that nurtures local talent to meet the demands of our changing economy,” said Thomas Penny, General Manager of the Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center and a Raise DC Executive Team member.


“D.C. is a ‘program-rich’ city,” said Terri L. Freeman, President of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and member of the Raise DC Executive Team. “We must move to a ‘system-rich’ approach, which requires a more disciplined and smarter way of organizing our existing funds, programs and resources if we want cradle-to-career impact – and Raise DC is our opportunity to get this done.”


Based on this theory of change, Raise DC has developed a Success Roadmap for achieving the six key outcomes. “Our goals are ambitious, but necessary to defeat the cycle of low educational attainment, joblessness and poverty that too many of our young people face – particularly our 10,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not connected to school or work,” stated Lucretia Murphy, Raise DC co-chair and Executive Director of the Maya Angelou Schools/See Forever Foundation.


“Many communities across the country are taking seriously the call to collaborate differently and are seeing measurable and real outcomes in everything from teen pregnancy to high school graduation rates,” said Michele Jolin, member of the White House Council for Community Solutions. “Having studied these communities and their collective impact, the White House Council for Community Solutions is thrilled to see D.C. step up and rise to the challenge.”


The leaders emphasized that while they are wholly committed to the effort, they cannot succeed in isolation. “Most importantly, we want to stress that this work cannot be done alone,” said Randall Boe, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Monumental Sports and Entertainment and an Executive Team member. “Inherent to the concept of collective impact is the notion that it takes all hands on deck. As a corporate citizen, we issue a call to other corporations and the greater community to join this effort. The children of the District deserve our collective support.”