Rey Faustino, Interim CEO
I’d like to share more about how One Degree got started in NYC through deep community partnerships with the Fair Futures coalition. (Last month I announced how we expanded One Degree to provide over 5,500 resources to New Yorkers.)
Fair Futures is a youth-led advocacy movement and coalition of 100+ organizations and foundations advocating for all young people in New York City’s foster care system to have access to the long-term, comprehensive support they need to achieve their potential.
To reach their collectively identified goals, such as high school graduation and
affordable housing access, Fair Futures realized that they needed a way to coordinate community resources to support over 450 staff at 26 different CBOs across five boroughs and nearly 3,000 young people. According to Fair Futures co-director Katie Napolitano, “We initially considered a custom-built directory, but quickly realized One Degree had the right expertise to build and maintain all the community resource and referral information Fair Futures needed to provide to all our young people and the professionals who support them.”
While the One Degree platform is not a child welfare specific tool, we seek to meet our community where they’re at, and we provide local resource information and referral support to communities with diverse goals across the social sector. We began our work by having conversations with a diverse set of community members working across the Fair Futures ecosystem. We learned that, while NYC has a rich landscape of quality high school, post-secondary, and workforce programs for young people, there was no key tool or resource to search for and evaluate all of these opportunities in one place. Rather, folks were using a combination of Google searches, word of mouth, two different printable PDFs, and a few excel spreadsheets.
In 2020, One Degree NYC launched with a set of 470 high-quality internship, job readiness, and vocational/sector-based training programs. Later that year, The City University of New York (CUNY) became an official partner, and the One Degree Resource Management team added 300 CUNY certificate programs. In spring 2021, several hundred more CUNY internship and upskilling programs were added. In total, nearly 1,500 searchable academic and career opportunities for the Fair Futures community are now available on One Degree!
And we know we’re just one part of the larger system of necessary support to ensure young people succeed in NYC. Connect with me if you’re interested in going deeper with us in NYC (or our other key regions in Los Angeles or San Francisco Bay Area). We look forward to giving families across the five boroughs access to thousands of resources they need and to resources they didn’t even know existed.