Achieving the Dream, a reform network of 300 community colleges across the nation, announced today that it has selected 10 colleges from four states to participate in the new three-year Accelerating Equitable Outcomes cohort. The aim is to implement comprehensive strategies to help more students, especially Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and students of color and from high-poverty backgrounds, earn postsecondary credentials, including occupational certificates and degrees and create pathways to jobs with living-sustaining wages, benefits, and potential for upward mobility.
“Achieving the Dream colleges are distinct: They choose transformation over tradition, curiosity over inaction, and innovation over the status quo,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream said at a conference today that brought 2,000 community college leaders to the McCormick Place Convention Center here. “The effort will help ten more colleges meet their student success goals, transform their institutions, and normalize opportunities for racially minorized students to make their way into lucrative careers that contribute to community economic growth.”
“It was a clean sweep for Chicago City Colleges,” noted Juan Salgado, chancellor of the Chicago City Colleges (CCC). “That all of our eligible institutions were selected speaks volumes about our laser focus on increasing equitable outcomes for the students we serve. With the support of ATD and its coaches, our colleges can further strengthen our comprehensive strategies for improving student success and closing equity gaps,” Salgado said.
All five eligible colleges from the Chicago City Colleges have been selected, including Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Harold Washington College, and Wilbur Wright College. Also selected were:
Contra Costa College, San Pablo, California
Antelope Valley College, Lancaster, California
Hartnell College, Salinas, California
Queensborough Community College, Queens, New York, City University of New York
San Juan College, Farmington, New Mexico
To be eligible to apply to participate, institutions had to demonstrate that they serve a minimum of 45 percent of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and students of color and 20 percent Pell-eligible students.
ATD network institutions are working to build momentum for graduation and further credentials and developing new strategies to demonstrate how community colleges — collaborating with employers and community organizations — can drive more equitable social and economic mobility.
“ATD brings both a national perspective as well as the knowledge and resources to help colleges navigate a broad range of challenges,” said ATD board chairman Dr. Gregory D. Williams, president of Odessa College in Odessa, Texas. “There is so much that we learn and do through our collective work with ATD and the other network colleges and the diversity of experiences they bring to the table.”
Funding for the initiative comes, in part, from an unrestricted $20 million grant to Achieving the Dream from MacKenzie Scott which ATD is using to support its focus on building vibrant communities by accelerating the economic and social mobility of community college students.