Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds Boston Youth-to-College Initiative

The Boston Youth-to-College Initiative, a partnership between X-Cel, Inc, STRIVE/Boston Employment Services, and Bunker Hill Community College was chosen as one of eight collaborations from across the United States to be funded as part of The National Youth Employment Coalition’s Postsecondary Success Initiative, beginning in January 2010. This initiative is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

The Boston Youth-to-College Initiative will prepare 45 young adults, age 18 – 26 for successful entry into college and will support them through to completion of a college credential. X-Cel has already begun the first of three 14-week cycles of college prep classes, each of which will serve 15 young adults. The college prep classes include four components: academic preparation for college, college success skills, assistance with the application process, and support through completion of a credential.

The academic preparation focuses on giving the students experience with college-level assignments, including writing papers, Internet research, group presentations, and improving their academic skills, so that they will place into college-level classes.

The college success component consists of workshops to teach note-taking, reading college texts, time management, college vocabulary, career exploration, and various strategies to deal with challenges that interfere with college success.

The third component consists of individual assistance for each student to apply for financial aid, complete the college application, take the college placement test, take a tour of the college campus, meet with a college academic advisor, and register for classes.

Finally, the Boston Youth-to-College Initiative will provide follow-up and support to students once they enter college. Staff will assist students with course selection and provide tutoring, mentoring and referrals to support services so that students can focus on their studies and stay on track to graduate on time.

The partners in this initiative, X-Cel, STRIVE and Bunker Hill Community College will work together to provide individual case management and academic support for two years once the 45 students enroll in their first college semester. The goal is for all students to complete a certificate or an Associate’s degree at BHCC or another college.