2022 Grants Challenge

OJS program expansion

By creating a chance at a college education, OJS offers a path out of poverty for first- generation students of Long Beach so that they may not only succeed academically, but also in life. Our ultimate marker for success is degree attainment. The funds from the LA2050 grant challenge would provide critical support as we take our first steps towards our newly launched goal to serve 475 students across all OJS programs by the fall of 2024.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Youth Economic Advancement (sponsored by Funding Partner, TBA)

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Our organization seeks to improve and change the lives of promising youth from disadvantaged areas that have a dream to attend and graduate from a college or university. Although the graduation rates have significantly improved in Long Beach for our population, those who do graduate are not always properly prepared to pursue a college education. OJS works to eliminate the achievement gap created when underserved students are not prepared for the educational rigor of college. In 2017, only 13% of 24-year-olds from the lowest income quartile and 20% from the second-lowest quartile had earned bachelor’s degrees, compared with 62% of students from the highest income quartile and 47% from the third-highest quartile (Pell institute, 2019). Beyond preparing students for college acceptance, OJS is committed to providing much needed support to ensure that they achieve a college degree.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

OJS serves students with two distinct programs: The College Access Program and the College Success Program. The College Access Program serves students beginning in the 8th grade. For three years, students are equipped with the guidance and support of a mentor as they navigate through the challenges of high school and college applications. This extensive program provides at-risk youth an average of 360 hours of personal mentoring, 150 hours of enrichment programming, one-on-one tutoring and counseling as needed. Many of our volunteer mentors are actively involved in the community and offer OJS students the opportunity to participate in a variety of community outreach and extracurricular experiences, leading by example. College Success provides enhanced support to high school upperclassmen and college students. This program, beginning in the 11th grade and following students until they graduate college, ensures academic success as students navigate college admission and matriculation. Through College Success, high school juniors and seniors receive educational programming, case management sessions that address the transition to college for students and their parents, college application assistance, scholarships and support navigating the federal financial aid system. The students who have begun their college journey received emotional and financial support, academic guidance, alumni mixers and academic webinars. They continue to receive this support until degree attainment.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

By creating a chance at a college education, OJS offers a path out of poverty for first-generation students of Long Beach. Our program graduates out-perform other students of similar socio-economic backgrounds in their attendance at four-year colleges immediately following high school, their college graduation rates and their overall persistence rates in higher education. The comprehensive interventions of OJS have proven successful over time. Every single graduate of the program has received an on-time high school diploma, 95% of those students immediately went on to college. Since 2006, 93% of our students began their education at a 4-year college or university, which significantly increased their odds of obtaining a degree. Our 6-year bachelor’s degree attainment rate is 75%. Most of our students reside in Los Angeles County following college and become active members and leaders of our community. An investment in OJS is an investment in the future leaders of Los Angeles County.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The specific program goals for the 2022-2023 academic year are as follows: • 100% of OJS high school students will complete all grade level courses needed for admission into colleges and universities in California (called a-g requirements). • 90% of OJS high school graduates will begin postsecondary education in the fall semester immediately following high school graduation. • 80% of high school graduates will begin their education at a 4-year college or university. • 75% of the College Success participants will obtain a bachelor’s degree within 6 years of beginning their college education. • 90% of College Success participants will successfully complete their first year and return to college for a second year. • Students beginning their education at a 2-year college will earn a minimum of 20 credit hours eligible for transfer to a 4-year college each academic year.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 258

Indirect Impact: 849