Connected Youth Initiative

Fostering Achievement in Nebraska

Fostering Achievement in Nebraska (FAN) network convenes statewide stakeholders and leaders to share best practices and accelerate the discussion on the intersection of unconnected and opportunity students and postsecondary policy and practice in Nebraska. We utilize data, best practices, and student voice to improve equitable outcomes in postsecondary education attainment for students who are unconnected and/or considered opportunity students in Nebraska.

  • Educational attainment: the completion of credential beyond high school diploma or GED such as certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and professional degree
  • Unconnected youth: young people aged 14 to 26 that have experience in public systems such as foster care, juvenile justice, probation, homeless, and/or are at-risk of homelessness and/or experienced or at-risk of human trafficking
  • Opportunity students: population of postsecondary students that include those that are pregnant/parenting, first-generation, indigenous, immigrant, and/or refugee

Fostering Achievement in Nebraska is a cross-sector stakeholder network that aims to 1) increase the number of unconnected and opportunity students who enter into, persist in, and graduate from postsecondary education or training and 2) build and strengthen the education-to-career pipeline for Nebraska’s unconnected and opportunity students by 2025. This is achieved through identified goals, strategies, and strategic partnerships in the following areas: 

  1. Identification and creation of resources needed to succeed in postsecondary pathways; including financing education and training, access to wraparounds support, and leveraging resources from multiple partners. 
  2. Creating and coordinating multiple entry points to postsecondary education; including identifying young people, aligning multiple systems, strengthening accessible pathways into education and training programs, informing students and prospective students of options and strengthening advisement. 
  3. Preparing students to succeed academically; including higher education developmental course reform, pathways to college at the secondary level, and academic services. 
  4. Creating and strengthening connection to career and employment; including creating and strengthening apprenticeship opportunities, partnering with workforce boards and employers, establishing connections to quality jobs, and strengthening 2- and 4-year and graduate education pathways and stackable credentialing programs. 

Fostering Achievement in Nebraska is also focused on two systems-level strands, critical to each goal and strategy listed above – 1) building whole-family supports using a 2Gen focus and 2) understanding opportunities and successes through success indicators, data, tracking and monitoring. 

 

Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP)

Fostering Achievement in Nebraska was created as a result of Nebraska’s Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) postsecondary education work focused on systems impact. LEAP is a Coaching approach and cross-sector systems-change effort – embedded within Nebraska’s evidence-based Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) – that launched in 2016 via partnership with Annie E. Casey Foundation, Social Innovation Fund, and several local funders. LEAP strategies aim to connect unconnected young people to postsecondary education and career training using Jobs for the Future’s Back on Track™ framework and in partnership with Nebraska’s Education and Training Voucher (ETV) and Chafee programs to improve educational and economic outcomes for young people via equitable access to higher education. 

Through postsecondary and career pathways, we hope to improve our state’s poverty prevention efforts, decrease cases of neglect, and reduce dual-generation systems involvement by increasing postsecondary success for youth and young adults most impacted by systems. We hope to do this by using data and outcomes-focused approaches in Nebraska systems. 

This goal cannot be achieved without the involvement and partnership of many cross-sector partners, stakeholders, and students. Participants in Fostering Achievement Nebraska include: 

  • Central Plains Center for Services 
  • The Hub Central Access Point 
  • Avenue Scholars Foundation 
  • University of Nebraska, Omaha 
  • University of Nebraska, Lincoln 
  • Metro Community College 
  • Southeast Community College 
  • Iowa Western Community College 
  • Central Community College 
  • Western Community College 
  • Northeast Community College 
  • College of Saint Mary 
  • Nebraska Department of Labor 
  • Nebraska Department of Education 
  • Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services 
  • Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education 
  • Heartland Workforce Solutions 
  • Nebraska Court Improvement Project 
  • EducationQuest Foundation 
  • American Job Center, Lincoln 
  • Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Nebraska 
  • Susan T. Buffett Foundation 
  • AIM Institute 

For more information about Fostering Achievement in Nebraska and other postsecondary education and career training systems impact efforts, please contact Joe DiCostanzo, Assistant Vice President of Postsecondary Education and Career.  

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