Dear Colleagues and Partners,
I hope you are having an enjoyable summer. It has been a productive one. HERE to HERE and its partners are extremely gratified to have played an instrumental role in designing, testing and piloting some of the demonstration’s core initiatives. These initiatives include Work-based Learning Lab High Schools, The Student Ambassador Fellowship Program, CareerWise New York and the H2H Business Council (a precursor to the NYC Jobs CEO Council).
HERE to HERE was founded in 2017 with the goal of helping 10,000 low-income students of color be better equipped to earn family-sustaining incomes, achieve college and career success and contribute to the city’s thriving, inclusive economy. In fulfilling its mission, HERE to HERE has also helped pave the way for the public-private partnership that will bring its core concepts to scale. For the past several months, we have sought the guidance of our partners and thought leaders in the field to determine how HERE to HERE could best use its resources to support the success of the pilot demonstration. After careful consideration of the options, HERE to HERE’s Board decided to pursue a transfer of the substantial components of its work and its teams to two premiere institutions: Big Picture Learning (BPL) and the NYU School of Professional Studies (NYU SPS).
Effective immediately, Big Picture Learning will take over management and further development of HERE to HERE’s current network of Bronx-based high schools and our physical headquarters in the South Bronx (The Hub), while continuing to focus on elevating student engagement and taking on a broader city- and state-wide strategy emanating from The Bronx.
The HERE to HERE brand will continue under the BPL umbrella and will provide thousands of additional students with access to learner-centered, interest-based education designed to better prepare students in their formative years for a wealth of career opportunities. Additionally, BPL—already an international leader in transforming schools, systems, and education—will deepen its place-based work in The Bronx, expand its relationships with employers, and position itself in a burgeoning renaissance of urban education, philanthropy, and economic growth, centered in The Bronx. Carlos Moreno, co-Executive Director of BPL and a Bronx native, will lead this effort, in addition to being an important partner in the demonstration pilot.
NYU’s School of Professional Studies, led by Dean Angie Kamath, a longtime HERE to HERE partner and champion of diverse, local talent, will enable us to substantially expand our work in building new pipelines that connect underrepresented high school graduates to postsecondary opportunities. NYU SPS will lead the development of new, affordable applied degree programs that recognize and reward the knowledge and skills acquired through students’ paid apprenticeships and employment experience. These Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees are explicitly designed to be springboards to meaningful careers and advanced education (100% of the credits earned articulate to NYU’s bachelor’s degrees). Another related area of expertise that is now targeted for growth and development is the school’s distinctive work in Human Resource Management. Through their industry partnerships and close collaboration with leading HR execs, NYU SPS will help companies reshape how they recruit, hire and retain BIPOC talent. Taken together, these initiatives will amplify and validate innovative models and forge new paths to economic mobility.
On behalf of HERE to HERE’s Board of Directors, I would like to express our gratitude and indebtedness to the HERE to HERE team, who led by example and forged ahead during the tumultuous times of the past two and a half years, and who remain committed to our young people. I also want to thank the leadership at BPL and NYU for their commitment to take the baton and increase our capacity to better serve our young people. I encourage you to reach out directly to team members you know and the leadership of BPL and NYU SPS to learn more about what they have in store for the future.
Finally, those of you who know me well are aware that I have been laser focused on getting to this moment of scale and potential long-term systems change. In the process, I have learned a great deal, and I am truly humbled by the commitment and care that our staff, partners and civic leaders continue to demonstrate in service to our young people and their futures. Now more than ever, our ability to continue to work together will usher in exponential—not incremental—benefit for all New York youth and will help ensure that their dynamism, diversity and talent secures NYC’s competitiveness and rank as one of the top cities in the nation and in the world!
My heartfelt appreciation for all you do to improve the odds and outcomes for our city’s youth and my best wishes for your continuing success.
Judy K. Dimon
HERE to HERE Foundation, Inc.