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Jobs for Low Income Students to Close The College Completion Gap

Provide Skills Based Training+Paid Internship Opportunities for Low-Income and First Gen Students to increase enrollment and retention rates

Photo of Sasha Stewart
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it reimagine the cost of college?

The target audience for the solution is Low income and first gen students. The program will offer skills based training+internship programs for college freshman students in variety of industries and sectors, in order to finance cost of college. The program will be financed by Department of Education and Department of Labor (local Workforce Centered under Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act). The program is collaboration between Colleges, Employers, Workforce Centers and Students.

One of the major challenges faced by many low-income and first generation students is the income gap. It looks a lot like chicken and egg: in order to get to school the student needs stable income, but in order to be hired earn income, he has to have training/education/skills.

On the other hand, according to NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) the top five desirable skills in candidates are:

  1. Leadership
  2. Ability to work in a team
  3. Communication Skills (written)
  4. Problem-Solving Skills
  5. Strong work ethics
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Question: knowing that candidates need the skills, how might we create a partnership between colleges/employers/low income student and workforce centers to create a program where students can get paid internship, learn marketable skills, work on real life projects, potentially benefit the community their live in and earn extra cash to go to college?

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Meeting in next two weeks with several Workforce Center leaders to connect and learn how might we build the internships/training program for low income students.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Connecting with like minded individuals in OpenIDEO community? maybe creating a min-blog for low income to college topic?

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • A student collaboration
  • An Individual

Are you interested in the Path to Pitching track we've developed for this challenge?

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ali Harcourt

Hi Sasha,

I just wanted to say i think this is such a great idea! I am currently completing a Co-op internship where i work at various companies and they help me pay for my university fees and I have to say i have definitely improved all five of NACE's 5 most desirable qualities considerably. I would love to know what comes out of your meetings with Workforce Centre Leaders!

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