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Reimagining the Road to Graduation

The Need for Extraordinary Systems to Get Students to and Through College

Who assists students on their journey to and through college and career, and how can they work together to build better systems of support?


Counselors & College Access Organizations   /   K-12 Staff   /   Higher Education Staff   /   Families   /   Peers   /   Employers & Community-based Organizations   /   Policymakers   /   Funders & Intermediaries


Employers & Community-based Organizations


Community-based organizations (CBOs) provide a range of supports in out-of-school settings, while employers create the demand for labor and set credentialing requirements. Both are overwhelmed by needs in their communities and bracing for an uncertain economic future, which may impact their ability to hire, offer support, or grow.

“When we develop strategies and community-facing supports, they need to be more modular so families and students can come into that conversation where they are at.” —Leader, intermediary organization, Bay Area

Common Pitfalls That Employers and CBOs Face
  • Complexity and time intensiveness of providing tailored resources; as a result, many supports are generic instead of being adjusted to students in different situations. 
  • Uniformity of employer policies’ standards or expectations (e.g., all employees must work a certain threshold of hours every week).
Mindset Shifts That Can Help Employers and CBOs Better Target Their Support
  • Help students navigate information overload by curating resources where possible.
  • Connect students to peers or other resources where possible to clear pathways forward.
  • Practice "grace," allowing students to make mistakes or ask for help (e.g., flexible paid time off, child care subsidies).
Opportunities to Build a More Coherent System in Concert with Adults
  • Communicate workforce needs to secondary and postsecondary institutions.
  • Provide meaningful work opportunities for young people to explore their fields of study.
Further Reading
  • View student stories where employers and community-based organizations played a supportive role: Xavier, Alejandro
  • View a complete list of concrete recommendations for employers and CBOs here.  
Meet the Supporters
Who supports students on their journey to and through college and career? What mindset shifts can these supporters make to better coordinate high school, postsecondary, and workforce systems?