LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

College Success

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 attendance, stewarding them through to degree attainment.


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

Youth Economic Advancement (sponsored by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation)

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?

OJS is witness to the ongoing unmet need for college access programs and services for middle school, high school, and college students. Our organization seeks to improve and change the lives of promising youth from disadvantaged areas who dream of attending and graduating 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. As evidenced by the most recent results of the California Assessment of Student Progress Test, less than 42% of economically disadvantaged 11th-grade students in Long Beach meet or exceed expected standards in English and only 13% score proficient or advanced in Math (California Department of Education, 2022).

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

The College Success program addresses the needs of low-income, first-generation college students. In 2010 the program served less than 20 students, in the 2022-2023 academic year, we served 208 students. Our expansion goal is to increase the number of students served to 500 by 2026. The program uses a two-fold approach to assist our vulnerable students as they work towards the goal of a college degree. The first is to fully prepare current high school students for challenges they will face preparing to begin their college education, and supporting them throughout this stressful process. Once college admission is obtained, the program provides individualized case management to meet the specific needs of each college student. Our students outperform other students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds in their attendance at four-year colleges immediately following high school, their college graduation rates and their overall persistence rates in higher education.

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 so that they may not only succeed academically, but also in life. Our ultimate marker for success is degree attainment. If we achieve this, Los Angeles County will have a more educated and affluent populace, improving the economy and the quality of life for all Angelenos. A college degree continues to be a key to upward mobility and economic success. College graduates have higher earnings and lower unemployment rates. The need for college-educated professionals is predicted to outpace the number of degrees attained in Los Angeles by 2030 (Public Policy Institute of California, 2015). When Operation Jump Start achieves its mission, it will help create a more skilled and productive workforce who will have the means to make a positive economic impact.

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 interventions of OJS are successful, our 6-year bachelor's degree attainment rate is 86%. This is 65% higher than the national graduation rate for low-income, first-generation students (National Student Clearing House, 2019) and 23% higher than the overall national graduation rate(National Center for Education Statistics,2020). The 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. - 90% of OJS high school graduates will begin post-secondary education in the fall semester immediately following high school graduation, 80% will begin their education at a 4-year college or university. ? - 85% 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.

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

Direct Impact: 250

Indirect Impact: 750

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Although we are not applying for a collaboration grant, OJS believes that collaboration is key to providing the best services while maximizing our resources. We have long standing partnerships with the Long Beach Unified School District and The City of Long Beach. For over 10 years, we have partnered with California State Universities at Long Beach, Dominguez Hills and Northridge who provide us with the master's level social work interns that provide our mental health services, in 2014 Simmons College became a partner in this program and this year we added University of Southern California, Fordham University and Walden University as our partners. For more than a decade, we have been active in the Southern California College Access Network (SO CAL CAN).