Upgrade your future with a tuition-free guided path from high school to college to career.
Forward Together is a partnership designed to do whatever it takes to give you the chances that COVID-19, lost time in high school, or other barriers may have taken away. Simply put, if you bring the commitment, we’ll give you the hands-on help and financial support you need to launch a real career and a future with promise.
This comprehensive program provides three essential components for student success:
- A personal coach: You will be paired with a personal coach — we call them “Navigators” — who will help demystify college process and address barriers to success.
- All costs covered: We’re committed to removing financial barriers to higher education. All education costs are covered, and we will provide assistance with childcare and household costs, like food, housing, technology, and transportation.
- Success plan: You'll have a clear plan to quickly get ready for college. We'll also match you with a short-term program — most are just a semester or two — that will prepare you for an in-demand job with growth potential.
An Urgent Crisis
The cumulative effects of pandemic disruption, economic devastation, and racial injustice have created an urgent crisis that threatens our region’s future talent and potential. Overwhelmed by COVID-19 uncertainty and extra burdens on their families, our most vulnerable high school students have been forced to shift their focus away from high school, college and career to meeting more essential family needs — providing childcare to siblings, paying bills and buying food, and caring for sick family. Compounded by the abrupt shift to online learning, thousands of students once on track to graduate before COVID-19 no longer are, widening degree attainment, social mobility and racial equity gaps.
The number of projected high school graduates beginning with the class of 2021 has declined significantly. College applications and FAFSA filers are down as well, especially among low-income and first-generation students, and students of color. Unreconciled, this disruption could amount to a lost generation of promise, community progress, equity and hope.
Partnering to Empower Students
We seek to mobilize the full span of College, community, and private resources to help students whose college and career plans were derailed by the pandemic get back on track. Together, we can identify, guide and relentlessly support students along a path from high school to college to career. Depending on the program they choose, most students should be able to earn a credential and start working in about a year.
A Clear Path to In-Demand Careers
College doesn’t always mean four years of school. Forward Together matches students with short-term programs — most just a semester or two — that prepare them for a good job and lasting career. These certificates will qualify students their first job in the field and lay the foundation for additional “stackable” certificates that lead to a promotion, job security, and even count toward a full college degree. We’ll work with students to help them choose from programs in high-demand career fields, including healthcare and skilled trades.
Meet the Navigators