By Marleyna Greene
NLC’s Institute on Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) this week released Lessons from the Communities Learning in Partnership (CLIP) Initiative. The report, the latest product of the YEF Institute’s ten-year partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, extracts key findings on municipal leadership from the nation’s largest private investment to date in community-wide partnerships to increase college completion rates.
The CLIP initiative created opportunities for 11 cities to advance multi-sector partnerships to promote postsecondary success for low-income young adults. Four cities received generous funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and seven more “affiliated” cities participated in peer learning opportunities. The four city initiatives funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: San Francisco’s Bridge to Success, New York City’s Graduate NYC!, Riverside’s Completion Counts and Mesa’s Counts on College – joined other nationally prominent, locally-funded efforts such as Success Boston, Portland’s (Ore.) Future Connect, Louisville’s 55,000 Degrees, and Degree Phoenix in the CLIP learning community.
Lessons from the CLIP Initiative primarily draws on four years of implementation experience in San Francisco, New York City, Riverside, Calif. and Mesa, Ari. Each city’s project team, often convened by the mayor and made up of officials from the school district and local community college, targeted systems change opportunities. These changes, in areas such as data use and sharing, partnership structure and institutional policy, laid the groundwork for long-term improvement in student outcomes.
Why this focus on improvement on outcomes? Because higher education is increasingly a prerequisite for most living-wage jobs. And because baseline calculations found that only about 10 percent of low-income students across the country are leaving community college with a credential or successful transfer after six years.
With this national challenge in mind, the report highlights four key findings:
Overall, the report finds that the experience and lessons from CLIP affirm the benefits that communities can gain by mobilizing a multi-sector postsecondary completion partnership with prominent city involvement. For CLIP cities, having municipal officials infuse leadership, strategic thinking and staffing into broader partnership efforts demonstrably supports significant, additional system outcome achievements, paving the way for improved student-level outcomes. The cumulative experience of CLIP cities builds momentum toward future implementation of and innovation in multi-sector partnerships, as in NLC’s Municipal Leadership for Postsecondary Success initiative.
For more information: NLC’s YEF Institute continues to support postsecondary success partnerships in the 11 CLIP sites, and in nearly 20 other cities as well. See the NLC Higher Education web page for ongoing updates, or contact Marjorie Cohen, Principal Associate for Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the CLIP project evaluator – the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning – is releasing a complementary series of policy briefs on lessons learned in each of the system change areas, available at: http://www.omgcenter.org/knowledge_center/issuebriefs/the_community_partnerships_issue_briefs_series.