As the country struggles to escape from recession and many priorities compete for public attention, one thing most people agree on is the importance of improving education, and particularly of raising postsecondary completion rates. But reaching this goal will require attention to new demographic realities. Trends point to continuing growth in the numbers of young adults who are most underrepresented and underserved in postsecondary education: low-income young people, disproportionatly black and Latino, who too often are concentrated in low-performing, high-poverty schools that fail to graduate them or prepare them adequately for further education or careers. Improving educational outcomes for this large and growing group is essential to economic recovery and long-term growth.
How can Back on Track pathways be made available to far more young people across our nation? Ultimately, bringing those efforts to statewide and national scale will require policies that:
Opportunities to support the scale up of what works exist in the legislative and regulatory realm, as well as in the convening and “bully pulpit” capacities of federal and national policymakers and opinion leaders.
Jobs for the Future informs and advises key state and federal policymakers on policies that promote and support the development and implementation of Back on Track models. JFF elevates the voice of local practitioners to inform policy design and helps them leverage federal and state policies to support their work. JFF also widely disseminates policy briefs, model policy sets, and accompanying Web-based tools. JFF’s Back on Track policy efforts include:
JFF’s policy efforts help lawmakers in state capitols and in Washington respond to the needs of their constituents — from families trying to send their kids to college and employers looking for better-skilled workers.