Odia Kane and Shayne Yang of New Haven Promise recently talked to the leaders of the nation’s Promise programs to learn about the growth and mission of the movement. Take a look.
It’s by no means easy, but it was both important and inspiring. “It” was the third-annual New Haven Promise Internship Fair, co-hosted by the Yale Community Hiring Initiative.
On Thursday night more than 130 New Haven Promise Scholars gathered at Yale’s Payne Whitney Gym. With basketballs bouncing 20 feet below, the Scholars met with hiring managers from more than two dozen agencies in the first step toward landing a paid summer internship in their field of study.
More than half of the Scholars in attendance will land one of those coveted positions.
“Not only will this provide Promise Scholars about a quarter-million dollars to help cover college-going expenses,” said Executive Director Patricia Melton. “They will also gain valuable career experience and networking opportunities that will help them return to New Haven after they graduate from college. And we are extremely pleased to have new agencies, like Yale-New Haven Health, Centerplan Development, Marcum and the City of New Haven jumping in.”
The program has already launched one full-time career and will ultimately do the same for many more as Promise begins to build its alumni base.
The first full-time job that was a result of the Fair came to Teodoro Garcia, a 2015 graduate of the University of Connecticut. After serving an extended internship at the Yale School of Management, he landed a finance post at the School of Medicine last fall.
Both of those departments participated in the Fair along with a number of other Yale departments, such as the Art Gallery, the Center for British Art, Information Technology Services, Human Resources, Graduate Housing, Finance and the Police Department.
Another Promise graduate — Erving Xochipiltecatl (pictured) — was handling a new role at the Fair, working the table as a full-time employee of New Haven Public Schools, which plans to employ current Scholars this summer. Like Garcia, he was among New Haven Promise’s first class of graduates, earning his diploma from Quinnipiac University in the spring.
In addition to the school district and New Haven Promise, several other businesses and organizations were looking to hire, including Teach For America, Southern Connecticut State University, Berchem Moses & Devlin Law, and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
Melton and Yale’s Community Hiring Director Chris Brown (pictured) talked to the hiring managers after the event and they showed great enthusiasm for the Scholars they met and many discussed recruiting additional departments, businesses and organizations in the future.
A number of other agencies are expected to open positions in the coming months and the hope is to have more than 100 internships this summer.
One of the greatest challenges for the Promise movement is that time moves so slowly. A Promise program is an expensive proposition and everyone — including those who work in it every day — wants to know, “Is it working?”
We all have anecdotes, like the family with four young children who moved into town to take advantage of the program that will potentially save them $200,000.
But coming up with short-term answers to long-term questions can be daunting. A single-year statistical anomaly can create crisis and jeopardize funding.
So there was a measure of pleasure in reading a new working paper from the W.E. Upjohn Institute that found cities with “generous Promise programs” were experiencing a significant reduction in out-migration, even in the short term. That was the conclusion of an eight-city study — “Migration and Housing Price Effects of Place-Based College Scholarships” — by Timothy J. Bartik and Nathan Sotherland.
And households with children were even more likely to stay put in the three years following the announcement of a Promise program. As a result, the researchers found that because of that pattern “local economic development may also be enhanced in the short-term.”
Bartik and Sotherland examined migration and housing prices in eight cities altogether — Arkadelphia, Buffalo, El Dorado, Hammond, Kalamazoo, New Haven, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
While speeding up time isn’t an option, there is a lot more focus on Promise research as of late. The last two PromiseNet conferences — 2014 in New Haven and 2015 in Kalamazoo — have hosted sessions on early outcomes of a variety of programs.
Earlier this year, the RAND Corporation released its early findings regarding the New Haven Promise called Transforming An Urban School System.
Perhaps next time the focus will be on transforming the entire city.