The Cowen Institute will use a $500,000 grant from philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York to launch a new research initiative aimed at helping more New Orleans public school graduates — especially socioeconomically disadvantaged youth— enter and complete college.
During the next 15 months, the Cowen Institute will conduct research, draft policy recommendations and engage national experts in creating a unified plan of action for post-secondary success in New Orleans.
“We are so grateful for Carnegie Corporation of New York’s support,” said Amanda Kruger Hill, Cowen Institute executive director. “With this funding, the Cowen Institute will research and implement solutions to this complex challenge facing young people in New Orleans and across the country. Our goal is to create a vision for high-quality pathways to post-secondary opportunities that not only works for youth in New Orleans but that could also be a model for communities nationwide.”
Only 9 percent of youth in New Orleans’ bottom income quartile earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of high school graduation compared to 80 percent of their peers in the top quartile. Previous Cowen Institute research found that more than 14 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds in New Orleans are disconnected from both employment and education.
The Cowen Institute will create a detailed report on the current state of youth in New Orleans and how disadvantaged youth fare in the city after high school. The report will include baseline data for specific age groups to determine who is employed, who is enrolled in degree programs and who is neither in school nor employed.
“The research will provide a clear picture of where young people are and what specific obstacles they face, as well as assess the best ways to ensure students enroll and graduate from post-secondary institutions,” Hill said.
“We are pleased to support this work by the Cowen Institute, which will greatly expand our understanding of how New Orleans and other communities can support all young people in achieving their goals for the future,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The Institute will release the baseline report next year at an event that will bring together local and national experts who will focus on ways to increase college and career readiness and persistence for New Orleans youth.