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Real-world ready starts here.

Imagine a future in which the journey for our region’s youth from the classroom to the boardroom is paved with mentors, experiential learning, and the real-world skills they need to thrive. Imagine a future in which more of this region’s young people, particularly people of color, have the opportunity to earn a living and family-sustaining wage. Imagine a future in which Greater Washington’s employers have access to diverse talent ready to get the job done on day one, delivering real projects using world-class methodologies for the good of the region. Imagine a future in which this region’s organizations are equipped not just to recruit diverse talent, but to retain them and give them the tools to climb the career ladder. That's where NEXTversity comes in.

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Ready to talk about the problem?

In Greater Washington, there's a stark East-West socioeconomic divide that results in an ever-widening opportunity gap, primarily for people of color who live east of the Potomac River. As we explored in the April 2021 Regional Economic Development Strategy Report, the East-West divide, and the resulting opportunity gap have a cascading effect, leading to stagnant income levels and a widening wealth gap that can be most acutely felt along lines of race.

 

2021 report from the DC Policy Center explores the problem in this region in detail: In 2019, of the 415,828 District residents between the ages of 18 and 64 who were not in school, 13 percent were not working. Of these non-working adults, 75% were Black residents without college credentials, leaving them with little hope to qualify for available jobs in the region, especially jobs with a family-sustaining wage. The same is true in other pockets of Greater Washington; nearly 50% of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 do not hold a bachelor's degree.

 

The obstacles to finding and thriving in a well-paying job with good benefits for people of color, primarily Black DMV residents, are symptoms of long-held and deeply-embedded industry practices. Those practices begin with the recruitment process, including requiring a four-year college degree for consideration, and extend long after an employee is hired into a workplace with managers who are untrained in recognizing all forms of bias and managing effectively across lines of difference.

 
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Fewer than 12% of professional services positions in Greater Washington are held by Black or brown individuals despite making up 53% of the region's population.

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U.S. employers added 74,000 new jobs in professional and business services in August, 2021 alone with the majority requiring a 4-year degree.

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The DMV region has 12,500 open entry-level business and professional service positions without talent to fill them.

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Ready to reimagine the journey from the classroom to the boardroom.

 

Consider this: our region's community colleges currently instruct more than 92,000 students every year, including nearly 23,000 Black and 20,000 Latinx students. While these students generally do not hold the credentials required to apply for professional services jobs that serve as the top regional industry employer outside of the federal government — we can change that.

 

Together, we can ensure that these students have the 21st-century professional and business skills needed to succeed in today's workplace and deliver real projects with world-class methodologies and practices. In doing so, we can eliminate the opportunity gap that exists in our region. We can create a new pathway for lifelong learners into high-paying jobs with good benefits and challenge the status quo of how employers recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

 

We can take the best parts of traditional apprenticeship programs and incorporate them into a next generation model of lifelong learning that ensures Greater Washington's workforce is ready for the future.

Here's how it works:

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 KEY COMPONENTS

Working in Cohorts

Mentorship with Experts

Wrap Around Supports

On-the-job Training

Industry Recognized Certificate

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STUDENT JOURNEY

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NEXTversity will invite promising community college students from low-income backgrounds, with an emphasis on Black and brown students, to join the multi-year program in cohorts with their peers.

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They'll work side-by-side with trained supervisors on complex projects using world-class methodologies and practices to deliver results for the region, while learning the 21st Century professional and business skills that they need to succeed in the workplace and in life.

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Project assignments will rotate, introducing students to a variety of industries and project types. Scheduled checkpoints with mentors and peers will offer opportunities to reflect on their journey, course correct, strengthen areas of challenge, and share ideas, experiences, and perspectives.

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Students will accelerate their time to degree through immersive, real-life learning while earning wages, with increasing job responsibilities and a blend of training and learning events to reinforce the professional skills they learn on-the-job.

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NEXTversity will offer personalized assistance such as financial literacy and budgeting, technology needs, and family supports to help students thrive at NEXTversity, school, and life.

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Throughout the program, professional service organizations will have opportunities to follow the students'  journeys, offer guidance, and hire for open roles that match skills and interests.

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When they leave NEXTversity, graduates will receive an industry-recognized certificate and become certified alumni with improved career prospects and opportunities to steward future NEXTversity cohorts.

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Ready to integrate knowledge with know-how.

NEXTversity will deliver a comprehensive program that provides a pathway for underrepresented populations to gain the professional skills needed to access a high-end job with the potential for succession into subsequent leadership roles within professional service organizations in our region. It will also provide learning and support for managers to become better-equipped to manage and retain diverse employees.

 

We're aiming to launch a pilot with 30 students in 2023 and eventually scale to 175 students per year.

The result will be a new regional workforce pathway that reduces employment insecurity for some of our most vulnerable neighbors and builds a more diverse, resilient regional workforce.

 
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OUTCOMES

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An increased diverse talent leadership pool that reflects the diversity of Greater Washington

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Improved talent management ROI for employers and increased retention of diverse employees

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Aligned knowledge and know-how to start professional work on day one

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Enhanced equitable access to new career paths across multiple industries

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Improved alignment between industry's job needs and education's learning programs

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Reduced employer on-boarding and retention costs and increased talent pool quality and match

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Increased access to family-sustaining wages for traditionally disadvantaged populations in Greater Washington

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Steering Committee

 

CO-CHAIRS

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MARY BRADY

The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

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DR. ANNE KRESS

Northern Virginia Community College

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DR. FALECIA D. WILLIAMS

Prince George's
Community College

PUBLIC SECTOR

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Dr. Ed Pacchetti

METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS

Paul DesJardin

MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Chris MacLarion

(ex officio)

WORKSOURCE MONTGOMERY

Anthony Featherstone

DC WORKFORCE INVESTMENT COUNCIL

Suzanne Towns

EMPLOY PRINCE GEORGE'S, INC.

Walter Simmons

ALEXANDRIA/ ARLINGTON REGIONAL WORKFORCE COUNCIL

Dave Remick

INDUSTRY

ACCENTURE

Beca Driscoll

BAKER TILLY

Monica Modi Dalwadi

CELERITY

Anne Parmer

VERIZON

Mario Acosta-Velez

MCGUIRE WOODS CONSULTING

James W. Dyke Jr.

COMCAST

Quentin Sa'Lay

ACADEMIA

COMMUNITY & PHILANTHROPY

JOBS FOR THE FUTURE

Dr. David Soo

ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION

Allison Gerber

FEDERAL CITY COUNCIL

Hon. Anthony Williams

SOCIETY FOR HR MANAGEMENT (SHRM)

Nick Schacht

CITYBRIDGE DC

Jennie Niles

CONNECTED DMV

Stu Solomon

COUNCIL FOR ADULT AND EXPERIMENTAL LEARNING (CAEL)

Rachel Hirsch

INSIDETRACK

Kai Drekmeier

STRADA EDUCATION NETWORK

Dr. Courtney McBeth

ASPEN INSTITUTE

David Croom

CAPITAL PARTNERS FOR EDUCATION

Khari Brown

ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC AND LAND-GRANT UNIVERSITIES

Denise Nadasen

UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Dr. Marilyn Hamilton

KIPP DC

Allison Fansler

NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY

Dr. Jonathan Gagliardi

Ready to get involved?

 

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