CALLING ALL 2021 NEW ORLEANS PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADUATES!
NEW ORLEANS — A new partnership called The GATEWAY Collaborative is now offering special ‘bridge’ programs exclusive to the NOLA-PS Class of 2021 which are designed to give participants an opportunity to gain college credit, technical training, job internships and develop an individual success plan without personal cost.
The GATEWAY Collaborative is a pilot project of the Louisiana Board of Regents, State Department of Education, and local charitable and corporate partners.
Enrollment is limited to 300 Orleans Parish public school graduates who must apply by May 15 to participate in this free initiative.
Erika McConduit, former Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Louisiana and a member of the collaborative, said, “This is an exciting and transformational opportunity exclusively for NOLA-PS graduates to explore the pathway that best leads to their future success, whether they choose to pursue a traditional college education, trade or technical training, or go directly into work.”
She said each successful applicant gets their own individualized coach to help them map out and explore their personal best options so that by the end of one year in GATEWAY, participants are more prepared for real-world opportunities and the successful pursuit of a stable, happy life.
“Simply put, it helps prepares graduates for success no matter what they choose to pursue,” said Ms. McConduit. “We want any student with interest in our career pathway offerings to apply,” said Program Manager Amani Rashid-Smith. “We are not like any other program: we are free, it is for one year, and we tailor the student experiences to ensure each participant is on a pathway to success when they leave our program.”
Angelle Oatis knew after high school she wanted to become a Registered Nurse but didn’t want to go away to school to get a degree. “I wasn’t ready. I wanted to be close still to my family. This looked like a good opportunity, so I decided to give it a try.”
Her coach helped her earn college credits she can apply to getting her nursing degree, but she also got a job providing healthcare in a nursing home.
“Now I know I want to work with older people, and I know I will become a RN,” Angelle said.
Kathlyn Jones said she joined the program for different reasons. “I had problems with my ACT scores, but I knew I wanted to go to college,” she said. “I’m interested in film and business marketing, and the program is putting me on the right path. I have earned college credits and the skills I need to succeed in college.
“This is a great program for any student, even if you don’t know where you want to be in five years,” added Kathlyn. “It’s a partnership between you and your coach that helps connect you to what you want to find out about.”
For Montero Morton, his motivation was even more basic. “I needed confidence in order to reach my goals of becoming a writer or an actor. Now, I’m finding out how to do that from the experiences and exposures I’ve gotten through the program.”
Marco Garcia, who wants to become a chemical engineer, encouraged students who are English language learners to get into the program.
“Some Latino students, like me, lose hope because the language barrier is so huge. You go to a classroom and either the teacher doesn’t understand you or you don’t understand them,” Marco said. “I want all Latinx students to know you can get this help right now to stay in school so you can go to an American college.”
“Everyone comes into this program with a lot of experiences, and it is our job, as a success coach, to maximize their experience and focus with them, one on one, in finding their purpose,” said Phillip Rollins.
Superintendent Henderson Lewis said, “NOLA-PS is proud to be one of three pilot sites in the state to offer this opportunity to our Class of 2021 attending our community’s high schools. The Gateway Collaborative gives students an excellent opportunity to further their education and launch careers in high-demand fields.”
“I have students who are not sure what they want to do after high school. So, I introduce various pathways and help them decide,” said Success Coach Geraldlyn Johnson. “We let the graduate tell us where they want to go and we help get them there with confidence, because confidence is the catalyst to success.”
Mayor LaToya Cantrell said, “My administration is committed to ensuring that our city’s most important asset, our young people, have the resources and opportunities to gain credentials and meaningful work experience that will lead to success. The City appreciates strong partnerships in this work. The GATEWAY Collaborative brings an important set of opportunities for the high school graduating Class of 2021 – helping them achieve financial and personal success, at no cost to them or their families.”
Program Director Rhonda Dale said, “It’s exciting to have launched this program in the midst of a pandemic. We saw the need for affordable options after high school. Our young people are brilliant, but some need help removing barriers. This might be financial roadblocks, helping them build a network, or teaching power skills like how to be a stronger young professional. That’s what we do: See all their potential and help them find the right path forward, whether a degree or technical training in a high-wage job pathway. We meet them where they are so they can succeed.”
The deadline for applications is May 15. Any NOLA-PS student graduating in the Class of 2021 should go to www.gatewayneworleans.org to learn more.