In 2010 and 2011, Mobilize.org will convene three Democracy 2.0 Summits, each with 150 community college student leaders in attendance and many more participating online through live streaming hosted on www.Mobilize.org. Building off the strong local networks of Mobilize.org, these Summits will take place in Charlotte, NC, New York City, NY and Miami, FL, in partnership with Central Piedmont Community College, LaGuardia Community College and Miami-Dade Community College. In addition to these Summits, Mobilize.org will convene a President's Council of Community Colleges, chaired by Dr. Brian Murphy, President of DeAnza Community College in San Jose, CA, to build a sustainable infrastructure that supports the work innovation that will take place on their campuses and in their communities over the next two years.
At each Summit, Mobilize.org will provide awards to the top projects that address community college completion rates. The winners will be decided by the use of interactive keypad voting technology and at each Summit a total of ,000 will be distributed to projects that will be incubated by Mobilize.org for a period of 12 months. The success of the Summits will be measured on both an individual and collective level. Among the important learning models that will emerge, they will publish three white papers that will highlight the results, solutions, and demographics of each Summit and one larger report, comparing and contrasting local attitudes and solutions to the issue of increasing community college completion rates and summarizing the impact of our series of Democracy 2.0 Summits. All four reports will be widely distributed to the non-profit and business sector, as well as through the local community, the academic community, to our funder network and shared with policy-makers.
Mobilize.org believes that their Democracy 2.0 work in North Carolina, Florida, California and New York has the potential to directly increase the number of Millennials who believe that they have the tools necessary to be academically successful. There are many direct and indirect outcomes that will be felt both immediately, and in the long-term, due to their work. Their most important outcomes will be the following:
-The creation of a stakeholder-defined set of priorities for how to increase dialogue around community college completion rates, ultimately resulting in workable solutions that lead to an increase in completion rates in our target areas.
-A network of Millennials who view themselves as decision-makers and stakeholders in the process of improving their campuses and their communities.
-The creation of a Millennial-led infrastructure that builds civic engagement opportunities that are relevant outcome of an academic institution.
-Publish and disseminate our Summit findings to inform the larger field.
In order to realize the outcomes above, they will achieve the following milestones:
-Convene three Democracy 2.0 Grant Summits; one in each of the following states: Florida, North Carolina and New York.
-Each Summit will have a localized set of priorities, addressing the most urgent barriers preventing completion.
-Each Summit will produce five 'Awardee' groups of Millennials who receive funding and support from the Mobilize.org network to implement their solutions.
-Quarterly updates and reporting from the funded project groups and a measurement and reporting on the recruitment, retention and growth of the network that is built around each Summit.
-Develop and publish three Summit impact reports that link to the Summit priorities identified at the beginning of the process.
-Develop and publish one Collective Report comparing and contrasting the three sets of priorities and funded projects.
The American Association of Community Colleges estimates that there are 1,195 community colleges in the United States that have over 6.5 million students enrolled in accreditation programs. These students, whose average age is 29 years old, highlight the diversity of the Millennial Generation; 35% are minorities and 60% are female. With the increasingly prohibitive costs of a four-year education, 46% of undergraduates are enrolled at community colleges; in order to ensure that they can afford their education, 27% of community college students are employed full-time, while over 47% receive some kind of financial aid. More than one-third of all community college students are the first in their family to attend college. These diverse statistics paint a hopeful picture of the next generation of leaders in our business, non-profit and government sectors. However, access to an education has become less of a barrier than a student's ability to successfully complete his or her education. A recent Brookings Institution polls shows that less than 46% of community college students successfully graduate within six years.
Despite that statistic, community colleges across our country are becoming diverse laboratories for Millennial innovation and civic participation for a diverse cross-section of the Millennial Generation. As exemplified by the 'Achieving the Dream' programming of LaGuardia Community College or the national thought-leadership of Dr. Brian Murphy and Dr. Gail Mellow, it is essential that we work with community college students to proactively identify the individual and collective causes for this low completion rate and work in partnership to create student-led curricular and extracurricular programming to increase the rates of completion. Mobilize.org has signed on as a member of the Completion Coalition, convened by the Ford, Lumina and Gates Foundations, and will leverage the partners in that coalition and their vast knowledge of the field to inform their work moving forward.