College & Career Connections’ mission is to effect a radical transformation in the aspirations and capacity of youth from Washington DC’s low-income communities to graduate from high school and pursue higher education. CCC achieves its mission by offering early exposure to college and careers to eighth and ninth grade students in DC’s Wards 7 and 8. Students learn how to create narrative essays online and revise them in a short amount of time, if necessary.
CCC was founded in 2006, in response to interest by two national nonprofits, USA Funds and Scholarship America, in establishing a program that would increase high school graduation and college-going rates among the community’s low-income youth. CCC became an independent 501(c)(3) in 2008 and is a 2009 graduate of the Fair Chance program. In 2010, CCC received the Ward 7 Nonprofit Network’s Quality Program Award. Over the past four years, CCC has provided early college and career exploration and planning programs to 1,600 eighth and ninth grade students from DC’s lowest-income communities
After extensive research and two years of testing different program models, CCC developed a high-impact program called OnTrack!. This two-year program provides an interactive series of classroom workshops during the school day to all eighth and ninth grade students at partner schools.
OnTrack!workshops build young people’s awareness of their interests, potential future careers, and college options. Throughout the year, students create a personal portfolio outlining their interests, skills, future plans, and steps for achieving their goals. CCC supplements the workshop series with at least one visit to a college campus for each student each year, and a career activity such as speed networking with career professionals.
CCC works with eighth and ninth grade students because research demonstrates that the transition from middle school to high school is one of the most vulnerable times for youth. CCC is filling a gap. There are very few organizations in DC supporting youth during this period, even though it is during this time that youth are making critical decisions about their futures, including whether or not to stay in school.
Click here to learn more about the need for CCC’s program, details of the OnTrack! program, or how you can help.