The College Prep Academy/1199 WorkForce Program
Launched in 1984 with funding from the U.S. Department of Education's TRIO program, Metro Center College Prep Academy began as a pioneering education program serving 75 students annually (95% met TRIO's traditional low income and first generation criteria) and 85% were students with disabilities as well as English Language Learners. Since 1996, the Metro Center has collaborated with the 1199/SEIU Childcare Corporation, an affiliate of the union to expand its high caliber academic enrichment and college readiness services to a broad cross section of New York City public school students each year, including roughly 300 during the school year, and 150-to-200 during the summer.
Students are provided wrap around services to insure their career and college readiness. Academic and support services are linked with comprehensive college knowledge, employment preparedness, life skills and leadership development workshops as well as service learning and internship opportunities. All program activities are aligned with the NYS Common Core Standards emphasizing math and literacy in all content areas. Students attend activities and classes on campus at NYU on Saturdays, during the academic year and a full time four week summer component. Parental Engagement is fostered through individual meetings along with a series of career and college planning workshops, information sessions and assistance with completing financial aid and scholarship forms.
Most recently a Pre-RN component has expanded this collaboration which aims to increase both the availability and diversity of the NYC nursing workforce. Students who want to enter this profession begin in high school to develop the skills and knowledge needed. These students learn basic sciences, anatomy and physiology and become certified in CPR and most importantly, through a series of guided instruction by professional nurses and nursing students, facilities visits and internships, they learn first-hand what a career in nursing demands.
Program Impact: The impact of the program's Saturday and summer programming on students' academic performance is both impressive and transformative.
- In the last three years, on average, 78% of the students enrolled at the program raised their Regent Exam score, and 74% met or exceeded the "college readiness score for English and Mathematics."
- Most impressive, in each of the last three years, 100% of seniors who attended the program successfully graduated high school and matriculated to college. 54% of these seniors were accepted to 4-year public and private institutions; 46% were accepted to 2-year community college and technical institutions.
- In 2013-2014, 100% of graduating seniors in the program completed Financial Aid applications, and 94% were deemed eligible for federal and state aid. In addition, 32% of graduating seniors obtained scholarships at private institutions. In that year, alone, the program helped its students to secure $1,070,071 in scholarship funding and grants to help them pay for college.
Parent Engagment, College Applications & Financial Aid: Formal orientation sessions and monthly family workshops (addressing topics such as "Preparing your teen for College" and "Financial Aid") are offered to assist parents in keeping their child on track with the college application process. This includes direct hands on assistance with the completion of online financial aid and scholarship forms.
Life Skills/Social and Emotional Well Being: Students also regularly participate in workshops, discussions, and role playing activities developed by program staff, which are designed to address important life issues such as: social and emotional well-being, personal and professional communication, appropriate representations of oneself on Facebook and other social media sites, etc. The program also partners with highly talented, inspiring, near-peer advisors from the Children's Aid Society Hope Leadership Academy, who lead students through highly engaging and participatory workshops that explore topics such as: healthy relationships, family life, race relations, bullying, and conflict resolution.
The Summer Program: In addition to the Saturday program, Metro Center runs a four-week, intensive Summer program (Monday-Friday), which is devoted to career exploration, more intensive college preparation, and work experience through community service/structured 1199 Sponsored SWIP internship component/Summer Youth Employment as well as referral of students to the Ladders for Leaders program under the auspices of the Dept. of Youth and Community Services. The college prep portion of the summer program includes: college readiness courses, college essay writing, SAT and ACT test prep, practice SAT and ACT test taking, college visits, financial aid workshops, Parent College Planning Workshops, and a college fair.