The Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) is a place-based community development corporation in the Vernon-Central community of South Los Angeles and is launching a new program to improve educational attainment among current and former foster youth. CRCD provides workforce development programming for youth and young adults, a WorkSource Center to connect residents to employment, a high school on the campus of L.A. Trade-Technical College, affordable housing, a homeless youth drop-in center, and a social enterprise.
CRCD has over a decade of experience helping youth and young adults achieve educational and employment goals. In an effort to boost outcomes for L.A. County’s current or former foster youth, CRDC is now offering specific programming for that population.
According to research, foster care involvement creates a systemic pipeline to problematic outcomes, including low educational attainment. Foster youth’s experiences and outcomes in high school set the stage for ongoing challenges with regard to postsecondary access, persistence, and completion. Nationally, research shows 25% of foster youth are in college by age 19, compared to 41% of the general population. Of that 25%, only up to 11% of foster youth actually earn a postsecondary degree.
In alignment with CRCD’s strongly held assumptions and beliefs about foster youth’s tremendous ability to achieve significant positive educational outcomes, further research also shows that foster youth actually outperform other college students when provided with comprehensive support that helps to mitigate possible barriers they face.
CRCD’s new college completion program, called “Project Tipping Point,” aims to provide this identified support and shift the opposing educational trends of L.A.’s foster youth.
Project Tipping Point is a two-year program to support foster youth (ages 18-25) in L.A. County to successfully enroll at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, earn postsecondary credits in liberal arts or transportation manufacturing pathways, and exit prepared to pursue ongoing higher education and/or careers. Benefits of the program are two years of free tuition at LATTC, priority enrollment in cohort courses, as well as wraparound supportive services to alleviate any barriers participants encounter while in school.
To find out more information on how to get involved in the program, current/former foster youth can attend the info sessions at LATTC’s Redwood Hall on July 27th at 3 pm, July 28 at 3 pm, August 3 at 3 pm or August 4 at 11 am. Another session is scheduled for Friday, August 5 at 11 am in CRCD’s Youth Source Center (1006 E 28th St, Los Angeles, CA 90011). RSVPs can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lesli LeGras is director of education at CRCD. LeGras has over a decade of professional, educational, and lived experiences that lend to her laser-focus on creating a “push-out to college completer” pipeline for youth in South Los Angeles. In addition to her work at CRCD, she formerly served as director for the Youth Advocate Program in Oakland, a policy advocacy & professional development fellowship for foster youth in Alameda County.