The PIC’s postsecondary team recognizes the importance of college completion in an economy that rewards postsecondary degrees and credentials. The PIC employs several coaches who work directly with community college students, helping them navigate the difficult transition from high school to college, access college resources, and advance toward a degree and a career.
Founded in 2008 with a goal of a 70% college completion goal for the Boston Public Schools Class of 2011 and beyond, Success Boston is a citywide effort inspired by former Mayor Thomas Menino and funded by the Boston Foundation through the Social Innovation Fund. Its motto is fourfold: get ready, get in, get through, and get connected. The PIC’s Success Boston postsecondary coaches work with Boston Public Schools graduates attending Bunker Hill Community College, Roxbury Community College, the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Quincy College, and students transitioning to UMass Boston.
Coaches are their students’ biggest advocates. They understand that college can be challenging, especially for students who may be the first in their families to attend, and they’re there to help. Coaches:
- Provide assistance with college registration, enrollment, and financial aid
- Support students throughout earning their degree
For more information, contact Annabelle Cataloni, Postsecondary Team Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-438-5491.
While Success Boston coaches work exclusively with graduates of the Boston Public Schools, SkillWorks College Navigator Zeida Santos helps students of all ages and educational backgrounds, with a focus on disconnected 18-24 year olds (often referred to as “opportunity youth”) and adult graduates of training programs funded by SkillWorks. Zeida provides the following services to students and staff at Bunker Hill Community College and Roxbury Community College:
- Guiding students through applications, financial aid forms, and the career planning process
- Helping students utilize on and off campus services
- Connecting community colleges with workforce agencies to facilitate collaboration
For more information, contact Zeida Santos, SkillWorks College Navigator, at email@example.com or 617-413-7791.
The PIC launched a career navigation and internship program for community college students from Boston. Getting Connected aims to better prepare students for the world of work following college graduation. Students enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College meet with a PIC employer engagement staff member who will advise students on their employment options and match them with the needs of employers based on students’ skills, interests, and experiences.
Getting Connected provides:
- Resume-building, professional and workplace skill workshops, and mock interviews
- Prepared students who are ready to work
- A no-fee referral service to workers who can fill staffing needs
- Assistance building companies’ workforce development pipelines
- Access to PIC staff who provide support throughout the process
Alejandro Gomez Catano was born Boston, but left at an early age when his family moved back to Colombia. When he turned 16, he moved back to East Boston to live with relatives and finish his education at East Boston High School. Alejandro joined the high school sailing team and landed at job at Piers Park Sailing Camp. He participated in the school’s state-funded GEAR UP college access program, which referred him to the PIC for postsecondary coaching.
At Bunker Hill Community College, Alejandro’s Success Boston coach, Liz Brownell, steered him through the challenges of navigating financial aid and scholarship applications and helped him qualify for the Mayor’s Tuition Free Community College program.
Now living on his own, Alejandro has set his sights on transferring to a four-year university, and he credits his PIC coach with advising him on how to reach that goal. He finished his first year at Bunker Hill with a 3.6 GPA. He took classes this past summer to be on track to complete his associate’s degree in 2.5 years and be eligible for the Commonwealth Commitment, a program that eases transfer from community college into a state university, while discounting tuition and fees.
Alejandro has chosen to major in Information Technology because he wants his college education to open up a variety of career options. In the meantime, Liz helped him land a job at the East Boston YMCA under the supervision of an East Boston High School alumnus who cares deeply about his college success.