One America Community Efforts
Little Bar

Program: Career Beginnings, Boston, MA
Contact(s): William Bloomfield, President: (617) 636-9151
Purpose: To increase opportunities for high-school age youth in predominately urban and economically distressed communities by improving their access to higher education and employment

Background Program Operations Outcomes


Career Beginnings is a national initiative that began in 1996 as a project to assist youth who do not receive sufficient attention in school because they are considered "at-risk" or average students who are not easily motivated. Initially supported by national foundations, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Gannett Foundation, Career Beginnings now receives funding from local corporations, government, schools and philanthropies. The program was designed by Civic Strategies, a nonprofit organization that works with economically and educationally disadvantaged youth to help them enter college.

Program Operations

Career Beginnings is a hands-on, pragmatic approach to school improvement and youth development. The program mobilizes communities--businesses, schools, parents and students--to help high school students graduate on time and develop a vision for their future. Its array of services include career/college preparation, work experience, focused mentoring, tutoring and counseling support. These services help students make a successful transition to post-secondary education or full-time employment. Civic Strategies assists communities to organize and implement Career Beginnings. In order to participate in the program, students must have regular school attendance, fall within the middle 60% of their class of their class, and demonstrates motivation. Most students are from low-income families and are the first in their families to attend college; about half come from single parent families, and 65% are African American.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Over 30 communities have used the Civic Strategies over the past decade. More than 25,000 students have graduated from high school on time, about 80 percent have gone on to college or other post-secondary education, and about 12 percent entered the workforce or the military.

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