Duke Energy Foundation awards $30,000 to Made in Durham education-to-work initiative

Durham Herald-Sun | March 20, 2016
Duke Energy Foundation district manager Indira Everett (second from left) tours Durham Technical Community College’s Gateway to College alternative school with Made in Durham partners (l-r) Kesha D. Futrell (Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy), Lydia Newman (Made in Durham), Marguerita Best (Gateway to College) and Gayle Erdheim (Achievement Academy).

This story first appeared in the Durham Herald-Sun

Duke Energy Foundation has awarded Made in Durham a $30,000 grant to advance an education-to-work initiative designed to prepare alternative school students for career success.

The grant will help fund curriculum development, training and support services for students who have reengaged in school after dropping out. The initiative, planned by local education and workforce development partners, will offer students a range of career awareness, exploration and planning activities as well as work-related competency training, from employability skills to positive work attitudes, and real-world work experience.

“We’re delighted to support the Made in Durham partnership’s efforts to assist young people in our community who are working hard to get back on track,” said Indira Everett, Duke Energy Foundation’s district manager for government and community relations for Chatham, Durham, Lee and Orange counties. “This type of initiative is central to our education and workforce development grant program, which invests strategically to ensure local businesses have a pipeline of talent and a diverse workforce.”

Made in Durham is a community partnership focused on creating an education-to-work system that ensures young people ages 14-24 complete high school and a postsecondary credential and enter a rewarding career by age 25.

The Duke Energy Foundation grant will support the work of Made in Durham’s Durham Futures Action Team, which focuses on “opportunity youth” – those who have dropped out and returned to school as well as those who are still disconnected.

The team has begun its system-building efforts by working with students who attend three Durham alternative schools – Achievement Academy of Durham, Durham Public Schools’ Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy and Gateway to College at Durham Technical Community College.

“Duke Energy Foundation’s grant will enable these three alternative schools to greatly enhance training and workforce development for their students as well as develop a model we can replicate and expand to serve students all across Durham,” said Lydia Newman, youth transitions strategist for Made in Durham, who facilitates the Durham Futures Action Team.

Key Durham Futures partners are the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), Durham Public Schools, Durham Technical Community College’s College and Career Readiness Department, United Way of the Greater Triangle, the three alternative schools and the Made in Durham nonprofit, which facilitates the partnership.

The grant will help educators develop educational and experiential program components that research indicates are critical for education-to-career success, such as:

  • Enhanced work-based learning experiences, from company tours and class presentations to summer internships.
  • Employer-informed curriculum as well as workforce skills workshops held at Durham Tech, exposing students to post-secondary education.
  • Proficiency assessments in key career-readiness areas – applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information – plus help attaining proficiency.
  • Career exploration field trips to companies in high-growth industries that help students make informed career plans and choices.
  • Community-building activities and leadership development events.
  • Shared data and evaluation that guide program development.

For information on the Durham Futures initiative, contact Newman at lnewman@madeindurham.org or (919) 627.6421.

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Made in Durham is a community partnership of educators, business, government, youth-serving nonprofits and young people mobilized around a shared vision that all of Durham’s youth will complete high school and a post-secondary credential and begin a rewarding career by the age of 25.
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