Initiative to boost college success among low-income students through greater business involvement with high schools announced by College Summit at White House

Lauren Williams's picture
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

At the White House Summit on College Opportunity today, College Summit unveiled a new initiative that provides business with a strong, structured role in increasing the number of low-income high school students getting to and through college. Barry Salzberg, Global CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), led a delegation of business leaders representing Walmart (NYSE: WMT), AT&T (NYSE: T), Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) and Mutual of America, and outlined the commitment of these companies to ScholarJob, a collaboration with College Summit that provides high school students with the pathways they need to take through high school and college to start their career. Salzberg encouraged corporate America to join the ScholarJob initiative and strengthen U.S. competitiveness and communities by developing the talent of all kids.

"Without a college education, low-income students have a greater likelihood of being unemployed or ending up in poverty. The President challenged us all to step up and make a difference in the lives of these young people, and that's what we in the business community are doing through College Summit's ScholarJob program," explained Barry Salzberg, who also serves as Chairman of the Board of College Summit. "Corporations and other employers can inspire kids to stay in school and work hard with the promise of real careers – but we also need to provide students with an understanding of the real steps they need to take, like coursework and internships, that will prepare them for a job with our partner companies."

College Summit is the national nonprofit that transforms the lives of low-income youth by developing a corps of high school students who lead their peers to and through college. First Lady Michelle Obama once served as a board member in Chicago for College Summit, and the organization has been recognized for its social innovation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President Obama (a recipient of funds from his Nobel Prize). ScholarJob is a new College Summit program harnessing the power of employers who can show students the direct connection between the education they need and the careers they want. The initiative will leverage the inspirational leadership of CEOs like Barry Salzberg, Bill Simon of Walmart, Clarence Otis of Darden, Randall Stephenson of AT&T, and Tom Moran of Mutual of America; the personal stories of their employees who have risen above difficult circumstances to have successful careers; and specific professional pathways that these companies' Talent and Human Resources departments will provide to College Summit students.

"From its work in schools across the country, College Summit understands that, too-often, low-income kids don't believe that educational success will result in a real job and better way of life. ScholarJob is about trumpeting the one voice that can still break through to turn that belief around: companies. Because they provide careers, they are the ones who can still persuasively say, 'If you work hard in school, the careers will follow,'" said J.B. Schramm, College Summit's founder.

ScholarJob is just one innovative College Summit commitment announced at the White House Summit.

College Summit announced a new program where students will train educators and college counselors how to use a new category of online and mobile apps developed to make the college-going process more transparent, collaborative and easy to navigate for low-income and first-generation students and their families. The Bezos Family Foundation is investing in this effort to promote nationwide use of the apps, which are curated and organized by College Summit at CollegeAppMap.org. College Summit's CollegeAppMap and the individual apps were featured yesterday at the Obama Administration's Education Datapalooza and observed by Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Local Washington, D.C.-based College Summit students trained District of Columbia Public Schools educators and college counselors how to use the apps and how to help their own students utilize this new type of college access and success resource.

The organization also announced its expansion into Kansas City. Normally school districts pay for College Summit's services, but as a first, three universities in Missouri have agreed to join the district in funding the organization to work with 6,000 at risk students in Kansas City over the next four years.

About College Summit

College Summit is the national nonprofit that transforms the lives of low-income youth by developing a corps of high school students who lead their peers to and through college. The organization, which has been recognized for its social innovation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President Obama, annually serves 50,000 students. College Summit provides a system for improving college access and career success in 180 partner high schools in 15 states. Learn more at www.collegesummit.org.