#DegreesNYC is an initiative designed to bring people together to move NYC towards greater equity in college degree attainment.

THE MISSION: To close NYC’s postsecondary attainment gaps by aligning college and career efforts around a shared vision with clear goals.

THE OPPORTUNITY: New York City has a robust community of organizations, advocates and educators committed to closing college and career achievement, opportunity, and attainment gaps. However, unlike cities such as Chicago or Los Angeles, New York does not have a comprehensive city-wide vision or strategy for concretely improving outcomes for young people in these areas. President Obama’s North Star Goal, Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, Mayor de Blasio’s Equity & Excellence Initiative, Graduate NYC’s goals to increase college readiness and college graduation rates in NYC, and recent calls to action by national organizations and foundations present us with a unique moment of opportunity to dramatically change the trajectory of our young people and our city through collective action.

WHO IS INVOLVED: Goddard Riverside Options Center, Young Invincibles and Graduate NYC have taken lead supporting partner roles in this initiative. Graduate NYC sees this as a natural extension of its ability and history of convening and working with many different sectors and people throughout the city.

An Advisory Task Force made up of a diverse group of local leaders also provides strategic advice for the initiative. However, for the vision of #DegreesNYC to be realized, the initiative seeks input from all areas of the city including college access and success professionals, educators, young people and families, people from community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, businesses/corporate workers, public sector workers, funders, schools, colleges/universities… really anyone who would like to be part of closing the equity gaps!

THE PROCESS: To engage all stakeholders in the creation of the needed unified citywide vision the partners hope to implement the following inclusive process by the end of 2016:

  • Borough Meetings and other meetings of key stakeholders opening dialogue on critical issues, disparities, and potential solutions in communities across the city.
  • A Community Hearing collecting formal testimony from a broad cross-section of stakeholders on college and career access and success in NYC including students, parents, and professionals.
  • A high-profile Summit bringing together all of these concerns and ideas to create a new collective action agenda.
  • Creation of a Blueprint capturing the process; the problems identified throughout it; and the policy solutions necessary to move the needle.