Lead Up is an ambitious, strategic effort to increase Lincoln’s economic growth by raising post-secondary attainment rates. The program combines the best of practices in college preparation and access with a collaborative, community approach to workforce readiness, resulting in a truly home-grown effort that will improve the quality of life for individuals and their families, and for the city as a whole.
We leverage the power of networks to build connections and to bridge the critical gap between academic learning and career. It revolves around surrounding students with a dynamic framework of people who want to invest in others by sharing their knowledge and experience.
At the core of the network is a group of student leaders who encourage their peers to investigate their future options for college and career. The network then expands to include college students, college professors and others who provide guidance on majors, college life, financing a college education, and preparing academically for a rigorous learning environment. With strong curriculum and dynamic methods of engaging young people, we provide a tangible way to help students turn dreams and goals into realistic plans…. and achieve them.
Lead Up empowers a well-trained group of student leaders (Senior Leaders) to find fellow students who are good candidates for pursuing college, but who might not do so without additional support, and engage them in college planning and preparation. The Senior Leader role is structured as a formal paid internship, built around an AmeriCorps Education Award grant. Senior Leaders work with the larger network to plan and deliver evidence-based strategies.
Peer groups play a crucial role in identity development and building college aspirations for minority youth. Research has shown the power of building peer-strengthening programs and structures. Peer groups can affirm students’ ethnic/cultural backgrounds and academic identities while building the networks and social capital needed to access higher education.
The last element of this support scaffold is built by the community – Lincoln’s businesses and industries who invest resources and human capital to show our young people a wide array of career options, help them find careers that match their passion and ensure that they are making the right preparations for success in their chosen field.