Memphis, Tennessee PeopleFirst
An offshoot of the larger Fast Forward initiative, PeopleFirst identifies and promotes innovative education and workforce development programs. With Mayor A.C. Wharton's support, the goal of PeopleFirst is to create and maintain a framework so the educational pipeline in Memphis can guide the maximum number of students to postsecondary success. The strategies employed by PeopleFirst begin with early childhood care, and have used the support of the Early Success Coalition since its inception in 2008. Through its efforts, PeopleFirst has helped provide Pre-K schooling to an additional 1400 students and secured over 125 Head Start program slots for Shelby County. Efforts have been made in K-12 schools to increase core standards, student engagement, and postsecondary preparation through college application workshops and IB programs. By providing additional pathways to college, engaging young talent, and making successful grant applications, Memphis is continually improving its postsecondary and economic outcomes. Recently, the city retained over 1800 talented graduates, translating to a $54.5 million impact on the city's economy.