EMS Hosts Second Lunch & Learn on Improving College and Workforce Outcomes

This past November, EMS hosted its second Lunch & Learn session where educators and community leaders from across north and east Texas convened to share their experiences using innovative, equity-building technologies to improve college and workforce outcomes.

At the gathering, which was held on November 16, 2021 at the University of North Texas Dallas’s Student Center, more than 200 participants gathered to hear presentations from their peers at both the school district and community college/university levels. Participants represented both rural and urban settings, including partners with three Texas-based College Promise programs – Dallas County Promise, Tarrant To and Through (T3), and Red River Promise (based in rural north Texas).

In his welcome, President of UNT Dallas, Robert Mong, said “All of us are here because we know that in Texas today, the more money that your parents make, the more likely it is that you’re going to get the right credential. All of us are dedicated to changing that model – changing that equation – and creating more equity through education.”

EMS CEO and Founder Eric Ban added, “What we’re doing here is providing a platform to celebrate some very special work going on, both in some school districts, in community colleges, and regional intermediaries that are leading and developing this equity-focused work. What’s special is what happens when good strategy merges with the tools to actually get the work done.”

Kicking off the session, participants also heard the voices of high school students and counselors about a new technology platform, the GreenLight Enrollment Fast Pass, that has been launched at Desoto ISD. In one student’s words, “I thought it was really cool because I did struggle at getting my transcripts and my information off to my schools.  I submitted documents and an application to about 15 schools, so it made it easy to have a way we streamlined that information to a few of our schools. It’s way easier than doing it one by one. Everything is in one spot, so I don’t have to keep going to different places. I just have it there, and I can easily send it off to a school.”  [Winter Harris, ’22]

Highlights of the Lunch & Learn presentations include:

    • Desoto ISD’s Let’s Gear Up Director – Robin Ford explained how her district is leveraging college and career solution technologies to support their students’ journeys. In addition to focusing on how digital credentials, such as the Enrollment Fast Pass, empower students, she illustrated the power of case management tools, providing school administrators with real-time progress monitoring and giving advisors insightful data that moves into a plan of action.

 

    • Tarrant To and Through (T3) Jay McCall, Program Manager, Rainwater Charitable Foundation and Executive Director Natalie Young Williams provided an overview of the T3 Partnership’s Year 1 program components. They also detailed the new TCU College Advising Corps (near-peer college mentors) and how the partnership has tailored case management linked with communication platforms.

 

    • North Central Texas College President Dr. Brent Wallace and Red River Promise Program Director Barbara Stanley shared their experience as one of three rural Texas community colleges participating in the Rural College Promise initiative, launched by the Rural Community College Alliance and EMS with support from Greater Texas Foundation in June 2021. They outlined the development of the Red River Promise program, and how the community-wide partnership is tailoring the program to meet the needs of their rural community and feed into a broader regional talent strategy.

 

    • Dallas County Promise Managing Director Katrina James provided an update on how this well-established program is evolving its use of case management technologies to drive student-centered supports continuously improve college and workforce outcomes.  As Dallas County Promise enters its fifth year, she illustrated the evolution of the program’s progress monitoring tools and dashboards, for example, to show critical alerts and allow for tailored communication with students.

As the day concluded, the audience participated in a word cloud to summarize their takeaways from the program in one word.


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