Leading Foundations Help CLASP Launch New Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success
Sep 20, 2010
By Crystal Canales
On September 13, CLASP launched its new Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success (C-PES) to combat the national challenge of limited access and low completion rates for low-income adults and disadvantaged youth. Through this new initiative, CLASP will advocate for policies that help low-income people and disadvantaged youth access postsecondary credentials that have value in the labor market
C-PES kicked-off with a webinar featuring a discussion with three leading foundations on top policy priorities. Whitney Smith from the Joyce Foundation, Hector Cordero-Guzman from the Ford Foundation, and Hilary Pennington from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation laid out goals for improving educational and job opportunities for low-income people.
Pennington said there has been "no real appreciation of the relationship between postsecondary education and equity issues," which has excluded postsecondary education from discussions on reducing inequality. A policy priority central to all three foundations is improving the ability of the community college system to serve low-income adults and support their successful completion of a credential. Community colleges are often the first accessible option for low-income students to begin a postsecondary education program. Yet due to work and family responsibilities, three out of five students who begin an Associate's degree program do not complete it.
CLASP advocates for innovative approaches that help these students overcome barriers to success, such as accelerated programs, stackable certificates that build toward a degree over time, and partnerships with community-based organizations that can provide non-academic supportive services.