Sept. 15, 2021
Contact: Claire Callahan, 415.655.4405
For young adults, paid work experience can open doors to life-changing opportunities. A college degree is often said to be the “ticket to the middle class,” but for many students, it takes connections and work experience to land a stable job that pays a living wage, especially in the Bay Area. The pandemic has only exacerbated that reality and widened disparities. To create economic opportunity and address lifelong wage gaps, Stupski Foundation has invested more than $2.5 million to support eight organizations leading work-based learning efforts for underresourced students and young people in the Bay Area.
Through these grants, we are honored to support the important work of COOP Careers, Dev/Mission, Dream Corps TECH, Esq. Apprentice, Repaired Nations, Students Making Change (SMAC), Urban Ed Academy, and Youth Beat to provide San Francisco County and Alameda County students and young people of color with work experience.
These innovative community-based organizations have the potential to expand the breadth of paid work opportunities available to students of color and bring much-needed systems change to the Bay Area.
One of our partners utilizing work-based learning programs to advance systems change efforts in education is Randal Seriguchi, Jr, executive director of Urban Ed Academy. He shares what sparked his decision to create the fellowship program, Man the Bay, that provides young Black and Brown men training, housing and mentorship to build a more representative workforce of teachers in San Francisco public schools.
“I was teaching a high school class, and the kids were all gravitating to me for a lot of reasons. They all connected to the fact that I was the only Black male they had seen as a teacher. I knew then I had to do something with this work. I knew then I had to do something with this work because creating more equitable outcomes for students of color and increasing teacher representation begins with transforming one classroom at a time,” said Seriguchi.
The importance of work-based learning
Work-based learning is an important new component of Stupski’s postsecondary success grantmaking portfolio.
During the pandemic, young adults struggling to make ends meet faced significant and disproportionate financial, health, and virtual learning challenges because of systemic inequities in health care, the work place, and education. Work-based learning is an educational strategy that provides students with real-life experience where they can apply what they’re learning in the classroom. It is an evidence-based lever for change that we need now to build a more equitable, viable pathway to the job market for young adults. Learn more about the benefits of work-based learning and different learning models on the Jobs for the Future website.
Work-based learning programs like Dev/Mission’s Community Technology Associate (CTA) program provides young adults with career-changing opportunities to gain valuable information technology skills while delivering technology support to people living in affordable housing. Ruqaiyah Angeles, a 2019 Dev/Mission intern, explains,
“The CTA program has been beyond beneficial for me. Not only am I able to give back to my community, but it has opened doors and created opportunities for me. From operating systems to customer service, this program has cultivated me to be a more well-rounded person.”
Ruqaiyah now works as a CTA program coordinator to manage and train future CTA interns in her community.
By creating paid work-based learning opportunities, our grantee partners help young people pursue their degrees, get on-the-job experience, give back to their communities, and remain financially solvent. Such opportunities make students and young workers more competitive in the job market across their lifetime—giving them opportunities that were previously only available to students who could afford to take unpaid internships.
“The financial stress of the pandemic has given young people tough choices to make between prioritizing their education or working and supporting their families,” said Malila Becton-Consuegra, program officer of postsecondary success at the Stupski Foundation. “Our work-based learning strategy opens up a third option, which enables students to learn while participating in paid work experience. We are excited to work with our grantee partners to provide students with direct connections to the job market while they are pursuing their degrees.”
Recognizing that small and medium-sized educational organizations are chronically underfunded, which has only worsened during the pandemic, we instituted our first postsecondary success open application process to engage new partners leading innovative work-based learning programs. We consulted our postsecondary success interns to select the final eight grantee partners, in recognition of the power of lived experience and the importance of including young people in decision-making about the issues that directly affect them.
In partnership with our grantees, our work-based learning strategy supports:
- Direct service to engage students and young people of color as paid workers—in conjunction with related classroom, lab, or apprenticeship instruction—in a particular industry or occupation of their choice.
- Career experience opportunities for students and young people of color through systems change initiatives.
- Programming that is tied to employment outcomes and leads to living wage careers.
- Serving underresourced young people with a focus on Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, and Southeast Asian students.
- Opportunities for grantee organizations to participate in co-learning and growth through a learning community.
Meet our grantee partners
We are honored to support the work-based learning efforts of these eight leading community-based organizations, all of which share a deep commitment to closing the income gap for young people of color in the Bay Area.
Hear what this investment means to our partners and the young adults they work with:
We are hopeful that our grantee partners’ efforts to advance paid career experience will be a pathway to a more inclusive Bay Area—one in which all students and young people can access the region’s vast economic opportunities.
Learn more about our each organization’s work by clicking into the drop-down table below.
Stupski Foundation is collaborating with community partners to invest all of our assets by 2029 to address some of the Bay Area’s and Hawaiʻi’s biggest challenges so that one day everyone can benefit from the wealth of opportunities and resources in the places we call home. Learn more about Stupski’s work.