Press Release: $2.5 Million Investment Spurs Creation of New Student Success Centers to Increase College Completion in Five States

Published jan. 21, 2016

January 21, 2016 – Boston, MA – Jobs for the Future (JFF) is pleased to announce the launch of five new Student Success Centers, supported by a $2.5 million investment from The Kresge Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The investment will help more low-income students, students of color, and first-generation students earn college credentials by expanding a thriving national network of Student Success Centers that JFF directs. These Centers provide the vision, support, and a shared venue for a state’s community colleges as they work in partnership on a collective student success agenda.

The five state grantees will receive two-year, $500,000 awards to create the new Student Success Centers:

  • Hawaii, University of Hawaii Community College System 
  • New York, State University of New York (SUNY) 
  • North Carolina, North Carolina Community College System 
  • Virginia, Virginia Community College System
  • Washington, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

This new work builds on investments The Kresge Foundation made in recent years to create centers in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas. 

“These centers build a cohesive approach to engagement, learning, and policy advocacy across each state’s two-year institutions,” says Caroline Altman Smith, Deputy Director of Kresge’s Education Program. “The colleges can then spend their resources more effectively and create reforms that help the most students possible graduate.”

Student Success Centers organize a state’s community colleges around common action to accelerate their efforts to improve student outcomes. They provide faculty and staff with venues for sharing and learning, aggregate technical assistance efforts, and help colleges collaborate. Student Success Centers pointedly seek to bridge the gap between policymakers and practitioners as they implement reforms that will help the most students possible earn postsecondary credentials.

The Centers selected for these grants “each demonstrated a clear vision of a statewide policy agenda to increase community college persistence and completion, as well as the capacity for meaningful data analysis and strong commitment from a broad group of stakeholders,” says Chris Baldwin, Jobs for the Future’s Senior Director. 

The host organizations for the Student Success Centers all aim to strengthen the student success work their colleges and supporting associations and agencies have been doing for many years.

JFF will spearhead the launch of the five new Centers, and continue to lead the expanded 12-state network to develop cross-state collaboration, provide strategic guidance, strengthen state-level capacity for data-informed decision making, and document Success Center models as they develop—capitalizing on a decade of JFF’s experience supporting state and local efforts to dramatically boost community college completion rates. 

For more information about the Student Success Centers and the national network, please go to the following link on the JFF website:

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future is a national nonprofit that works to ensure educational and economic opportunity for all. We develop innovative career pathways, educational resources, and public policies that increase college readiness and career success, and build a more highly skilled workforce. With over 30 years of experience, JFF is the national leader in bridging education and work to increase mobility and strengthen our economy.

Twitter: @JFFtweets

About The Kresge Foundation

“The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America's cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, community development in Detroit. In 2014, the Board of Trustees approved 408 awards totaling $242.5 million. That included a $100 million award to the Foundation for Detroit’s Future, a fund created to soften the impact of the city’s bankruptcy on pensioners and safeguard cultural assets at the Detroit Institute of Arts. A total of $138.1 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. In addition, our Social Investment Practice made commitments totaling $20.4 million in 2014.”

Twitter: @kresgefdn and @kresgedu