According to a press release, Cole said it’s all about building relationships and forging cross-sector partnerships of passionate leaders. The addition of support from the Redskins Charitable Foundation will take the Ready for Work program to the next level in terms of major business partnerships and preparing more young people for work and college, she said.
“Ready for Work is a six-year program that really is focused on getting three high schools, all of their graduates, career and college ready,” Cole said in an interview. “We’re doing this with three strategies.”
The vision of Venture Philanthropy Partners is a network of high-performing nonprofit organizations with strong leadership at all levels working together to give children and youth of the region the opportunity to grow into healthy, productive adults. Its approach is to blend a venture capital investment model with time-proven lessons from foundations and nonprofits, allowing the organization to help create long-term systematic change, according to an information sheet.
By 2021, Venture Philanthropy anticipates that more than 2,770 students at Suitland, Oxon Hill and High Point high schools — which are part of the county executive’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative — will be ready for colleges and careers, with another 400 graduates in the pipeline every year thereafter. In order to create a sustainable strategy, the organization will implement a three-pronged approach across those schools which includes strengthening career academies, teaching foundational life skills through youthCONNECT and providing internships and jobs.
“The first one is to strengthen all of the career academies in the schools so that the kids are [not only] academically prepared, but also have the skills for the fields that they’re going to be going into. We’re going to get business leaders to watch those programs and make sure that they are teaching them what they will need when they come to work for them,” Cole said. “The second part is called youthCON- NECT and we bring nonprofit organizations to work on what skills kids need about their attitudes for work and building confidence in them to make sure they do the right things. … The third is asking businesses to provide internships, apprenticeships, summer jobs and job shadowing so young people really understand what education results in for them — to be successful, healthy adults.”
Ready for Work plans to raise $15 million over a six-year period, which will support programs and services expanding the number of Prince George’s high school graduates who are on a solid path to be career and college ready, the press release noted.
Majett, who spoke on behalf of County Exec- utive Rushern L. Baker (D), said the Redskins Foundation’s investment will help build a pipeline of career and college ready young people who will go on to contribute and benefit from the county’s growing and thriving community.
“I think it’s awesome,” Maxwell said. “We did this announcement last year with Venture Philanthropy Partners about raising $15 million to help support programs in our schools. When you come together on behalf of kids, you can’t go wrong. Our students are why we’re here; that’s why any of us are here. It’s about making sure they have the opportunities that they deserve. Having kids that are ready to graduate, ready for careers, ready for college and ready for the next step is para- mount to all the work that we all do.”
Snyder said the Redskins Foundation is proud to invest in the dreams of young people and believes every child deserves an opportunity to succeed.
“This program means a big deal for us and in turn, it really means so much for [young people and their] futures,” Snyder said during onstage remarks. “We want to make everyone in the region and Prince George’s County proud of us.”
“Students here at Oxon Hill High School, they can find their niche. They can find a support system because there is so many opportunities for success here,” student Carlton Baker said. “It just takes that one step in the right direction.”