George Mason University

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Strada Education Network awards ADVANCE $1 million grant

February 6, 2019   /   by Priyanka Champaneri

ADVANCE student Ameia Moore-Stone speaks during the ADVANCE launch. Photo by Lathan Goumas/Strategic Communications.

Strada Education Network recently announced a $1 million grant to support the creation of education-to-employment pathways for students participating in ADVANCE, George Mason University’s innovative partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA).  

The three-year grant will fund the ADVANCE Career Accelerator—a new career support model that will provide students personalized coaching and a menu of services designed to help identify career goals and create direct connections to the workforce. 

“The Career Accelerator will strengthen the opportunities for our ADVANCE students and set them up for success after graduation,” said Mason President Ángel Cabrera. 

Recent data from the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey shows that students who view their educational experience as relevant to their careers are far more likely to complete their education and report that their learning was worth the cost.  

“Our goal is to move students through ADVANCE and help them successfully transition into the workforce as career-ready employees,” said Michelle Marks, vice president of academic innovation and new ventures. 

“We’re excited to support George Mason University,” said William D. Hansen, president and CEO of Strada Education Network, a national nonprofit focused on solutions that link education and employment. “They’re listening to education consumers, as well as employers, and designing solutions that are relevant to the real-world challenges and opportunities today’s students face.”  

The new project, which will be developed over the next three years, is intended to help students plan their career journey using formats that best fit their needs. The Career Accelerator will feature a career-mapping toolkit available through one-stop, in-person and virtual formats that link students to employer-based mentors, a smart resume platform and career assessments, resulting in unique student career maps.  

The toolkit will also provide access to labor market data that will help students and coaches in the creation of each student pathway.  

“Strada has emerged as a leader in philanthropy dedicated to strengthening the education-to-employment pathway,” Marks said. “To be recognized by this organization is significant.” 

Project development will begin with a series of education-employer meetings that will inform the creation of the toolkit and define industry competencies, which will be built into ADVANCE degree programs to ensure students have the skill sets they need.