New Academies of Nashville program will aid foster youth
Project is a partnership with DCS and PENCIL through the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action
Metro Schools’ the Academies of Nashville, in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and the PENCIL Foundation, is announcing plans for a new initiative focused on creating pathways to success for youth in foster care. Called the United Project, this program is a Commitment to Action for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America annual meeting, which these organizations attended this summer.
The United Project will expand education, training and employment pathways for Davidson County foster youth. MNPS, DCS and PENCIL will work collaboratively to identify, recruit, and serve foster youth in order to develop meaningful relationships between these students and local business. Business partners will have the opportunity to:
- provide students with work-based and service-learning opportunities,
- model and coach youth on appropriate work-place behaviors, and
- offer mentorship experiences that support student’s personal and professional growth.
“The Nashville community has consistently demonstrated its willingness to make a difference in the lives of our students,” says Dr. Chaney Mosley, director of the Academies of Nashville and career and technical education for Metro Schools. “This initiative will be the first of its kind in Davidson County that specifically targets youth in foster care. For these students, successfully transitioning to adulthood is challenging without the support network of family. We recognized the potential for combating this through a partnership with DCS.”
“We are thrilled that our youth are going to get these opportunities,” says Michael Leach, director of Independent Living at DCS. “As our young people prepare to leave foster care, they need to make connections with adults that will help them succeed in the working world.”
While the Tennessee Department of Children Services will work to identify and recruit students into the program, the PENCIL Foundation will act as a liaison between Nashville businesses and organizations that wish to participate in the program.
“The United Project is an innovative and forward thinking program that allows PENCIL, MNPS and the Department of Children’s Services to help students succeed academically and prepare for life,” says Matt Seaton, Vice President of Partnerships and Programs for the PENCIL Foundation. “For nearly five years, the PENCIL Foundation’s College and Career Mentors program has helped hundreds of students reach their college aspirations and begin planning for a productive career. The United Project will allow us to expand that reach and serve a population of students in need of additional support.”
There are currently more than 8,000 youth across the state of Tennessee that are served by DCS. Those youth who are also students of Metro Nashville Public Schools will have the unique opportunity to develop life and social skills as well as become college and career ready.
CGI commitments are new, specific, and measureable plans to address a significant challenge – in the case of CGI America, economic recovery and growth in the United States. Commitments range broadly in scale, value, approach, and in the types of partnerships they employ. The CGI commitment signaled the intent of the United Project to mobilize with its partners a multi-year change effort, providing a way to leverage the enormous scale and reach of the Nashville community to help solve social problems.