Career and Technical Education

Contest Extends Help to Expand CTE Programs

A new competition promises technical support for projects intended to expand career and technical education (CTE) programs for underserved and high-needs youth. The program comes from a partnership between Social Finance and Jobs for the Future. The first is a nonprofit that finds ways to use capital to "drive social progress." The second is a non-profit that addresses the needs of underserved populations in the areas of college readiness and career success. A United States Department of Education grant is the primary funding sources for the initiative.

The "Pay for Success" competition, as it is titled, hopes to woo applicants running community CTE programs that have shown some measure of success and could be expanded. In the pay-for-success model, private investors put up capital for the delivery of services by service providers and are repaid (most often by the government) based on the outcomes achieved, covering the cost of the services along with a modest return. "Social impact bonds" provide the means to shift the financial risk from those providing the services to those funding them. In the ideal scenario, those outcome payments are just a fraction of the expense that would be incurred by a government entity providing comparable services.

In the case of this program, the outcomes might be increased high school graduation rates or improved earnings for young people, according to Tracy Palandjian, chief executive officer and co-founder of Social Finance. "This competition supports the development of the first pay-for-success projects in K–12 education," she said in a prepared statement.

Applications for the competition are being accepted until March 17, 2017. The two organizations will choose four applicants from among the contenders, which will receive help in developing a feasibility study and support for developing a project based on organizational characteristics and track record, strength of application and the potential for impact on outcomes for those to be served. Applicants may be local education agencies, postsecondary institutions and consortia.

The organizations are hosting an informational webinar for potential applicants on Friday, Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Additional information is available on the competition website here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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