Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success (PSS) initiative is an ambitious effort to build and support local partnerships between community-based youth development organizations and community colleges aimed at increasing postsecondary access and academic success for low-income students in fifteen sites across the country. The ultimate goal is to identify scaleable, transferable, and sustainable models that can contribute to the Foundation’s goal of doubling the number of young people who are able to earn a postsecondary credential with value in the labor market. A key element in the initiative is the investment in two network-level intermediaries – the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) and YouthBuild – to recruit local sites and to provide best practices information and training, ongoing technical assistance, and opportunities for networking and exchange for participating partnerships. A third intermediary, Jobs for the Future, is serving as the “managing intermediary,” providing assistance to NYEC and YouthBuild as they work with their networks and serving as an expert knowledge development resource for the initiative as a whole.
In December 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contracted with the Center for Youth and Communities to conduct a formative evaluation of the nationwide initiative. The goals of the evaluation are to help answer the “how and why” questions of the initiative – to help the foundation identify those program characteristics that promote college success and that are scaleable and transferable to other settings, based on the experience of the participating sites - and to examine the role and value-added of the project intermediaries.