Press Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 4, 2015

CONTACT: Roshin Mathew – 202-790-1916; rmathew@vppartners.org
@vppartners #ChampsForGrads

Venture Philanthropy Partners and Prince George’s County Enter into a Long-Term Partnership

Raising Funds for a $15 Million Investment for Impact and Opportunity

Forestville, MD — Venture Philanthropy Partners and Prince George’s County today announced an ambitious goal of preparing the youth of Prince George’s County for career and college. VPP and the County unveiled Ready for Work: Champions for Career- and College-Ready Graduates in Prince George’s County so high school graduates are empowered to reach for their dreams.

“Partnering with the County government, schools, area nonprofits, philanthropic and business leaders has been a truly collaborative process. We are building relationships and forging trusting networks of passionate people who will do whatever it takes to put our kids on the path to achieving their dreams,” said Carol Thompson Cole, president and CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners. “The strong relationships we are building today will take us far tomorrow. Today is an exciting day. It marks the culmination of years of planning together to deliver on a visionary initiative for the future.”

The initiative has already raised nearly $5 million—a third of the way to reaching the goal of $15 million.

This impactful investment will ensure young people are career- and college-ready by providing:

Prince George’s County invited VPP to partner with the County because VPP aims to improve the lives of vulnerable youth and set them on the right path to learn, graduate and become successful, healthy adults ready for work and for life. Moreover, VPP has a stellar reputation of working with nonprofits and driving toward measurable outcomes and demonstrative impact.

“We are the starting line of what we know will be an innovative partnership that will have lasting impacts not only at Suitland but all of PGCPS. We are ready to hit the ground running,” said Dr. Kevin Maxwell, chief executive officer of Prince George’s County Schools.

Over a six-year period, Ready for Work will support programs and services that expand the number of Prince George’s County students graduating from high school who are on a solid path to be career and college ready. It supports schools that are part of the County’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI). TNI aims to improve the quality of life in six neighborhoods that face significant economic, health, public safety and educational challenges.

“Many of the challenges that confront us are interrelated and VPP gets this. In areas of higher need, the multiple economic, social, educational and health challenges severely inhibit the opportunities for neighborhoods and the individuals who live in them,” said Rushern L. Baker, III, Prince George’s County executive. “So alignment of government department/agency efforts, nonprofits and business in areas of higher need is likely to result in better organizational efficiency, focused resources and greater success in making long-term transformation.”

In Prince George’s County, nearly one-quarter of the high school students drop out. At the same time, according to the Center on Education and the Workforce, in five years, “by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education training beyond high school.”

“Investing in Ready for Work provides a unique opportunity for businesses who value a diverse and talented pool of workers and understand that access to a strong labor pool helps to support economic growth,” said Laurie Peterson, Peterson Companies “This investment will provide area youth with the skills needed to be successful in the workplace and I encourage other business leaders to join this effort.”

There is a significant number of people who are unemployed throughout Prince George’s County, while jobs continue to go unfilled and the skills gap—the difference between the skills that employers need to get the job done and the skills that potential employees have—contributes significantly to that problem.

“When we invest in education and career readiness, it is an investment in our country’s future success,” said Representative Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “As a graduate of Suitland High School, I am pleased to see community partnerships working with the Prince George’s County Public School System and the county government in taking this important step to further enhance our community’s prosperity.”

When youth possess core basic skills combined with direct work experience they learn the skills and behaviors that help them succeed and advance into positions requiring more sophisticated skills, technical knowledge and increased responsibilities. Taken together, successful youth employment leads to a more highly skilled labor pool and greater economic opportunities across the board.

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ABOUT VENTURE PHILANTHROPY PARTNERS: Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) makes the future brighter for youth living in the National Capital Region by tackling the largest barriers to their success and forging partnerships that bring the expertise, passion and reach necessary to achieve life-changing results. Over the past 16 years, VPP has raised over $100 million to help children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region access quality education, health care, and career training—setting them on the right path to learn, graduate, and become successful, healthy adults. This funding, coupled with our management expertise and support in strengthening staff leadership, has increased the capacity of local nonprofits to help them expand to 80 new sites and serve 50,000 young people each year.