We are proving what’s possible when you empower the next generation of leaders with the skills, networks, experiences and confidence necessary to launch a strong career after college.
We are sitting at a historic crossroads as a country. Recent events, including the vicious killings of Black Americans by police officers and the COVID-19 pandemic, have brought to light the inequities that have existed in our country since our founding.
At Braven, we ask five core questions to assess our impact:
1. Are Braven Fellows getting strong first jobs that put them on the path to the American Dream?
2. Are we impacting more students and maintaining program quality?
3. Is Braven supporting Fellows on the path to college completion and internships?
4. Are Braven Fellows developing the soft skills and networks needed for success?
5. Are we building employer and university partnerships with true shared value?
As we answer these questions, we have taken this new reality into account, as well as opportunities and best practices for the times ahead.
Before COVID-19, only 25% of about 1.2 million low-income or first-generation college students who enrolled each year graduated and secured a strong first job or entered graduate school.* That’s almost one million students every single year who weren’t on the path to the American Dream. With the pandemic, this gap will only widen.
* Composite statistics based on national sources, including NCES, NACE, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, among others
The next generation of leaders will emerge from everywhere.
Braven empowers promising college students with the skills, confidence, experiences and networks necessary to transition from college to strong first jobs, which lead to meaningful careers and lives of impact.
“I took Braven my sophomore year of college, during a time when I had been frequently applying for internships but never heard back from any of the companies. After I took Braven, I began to receive responses from employers, more interviews, and ended up landing my first internship through a connection I made when I was a Braven Fellow. The skills I learned through Braven shaped my professional identity and gave me the confidence I needed to stand out and achieve the career I’ve always desired.”
Braven empowers promising underrepresented young people—first-generation college students, students receiving Pell grants, and/or students of color—on their paths to launching successfully into the modern economy through two offerings:
We’ve always defined a strong job as one that helps our Fellows build long-term wealth and health. In addition to requiring a bachelor’s degree and being full-time, we’ve looked for a combination of promotion pathways, employee benefits, and a market-competitive starting salary.
Our 640 graduates (2016-2019) are outpacing their peers nationally in strong job attainment within six months of graduation.
*National estimates based on data from NACE’s First Destination Survey, Strada & Burning Glass Technologies’ Report: The Permanent Detour
— Underemployment’s Long-Term Effects on the Careers of College Grads, and underemployment research from the NY Federal Reserve
When students are given access to information capital, the opportunity to practice, and professional networks, the American Dream is attainable within semesters.
Percentage of Braven graduates already outearning their parents in their first job out of college. By comparison, by age 30, Americans have a 50-50 shot of outearning their parents.*
However, for our estimated 450 Fellows who are 2020 graduates, COVID-19 has shifted their reality and will have short- and long-term implications.
How does a recession impact the employment outcomes of recent graduates?
We are teaching students contingency planning to increase their likelihood of securing a strong opportunity; for instance, broadening the kinds of opportunities they are applying to and increasing the numbers of applications they submit. We're encouraging them to consider pathway jobs - short-term alternatives to earn money and build skills and networks that will put them on a path to a career-accelerating opportunity when the economy picks up.
Nationally, only 6 in 10 young people who start college finish within 6 years.* Fellows, who typically join us during their sophomore or junior year, are persisting at inspiring rates.
Braven Fellows who are persisting
in or have graduated from college
For college students, internships serve as critical proof points of experience and open professional doors. Compared with peers nationally, our college graduates already in the workforce were 24 percentage points more likely to have at least one internship during college.
Internships are being heavily impacted during this time, making it difficult for students without one to compete with their peers who are more experienced. We encourage employers to continue to provide internships, even if they are virtual.
Fellows’ grades reflect their level of mastery of these competencies.
STORYTELLING AS LEADERSHIP
Braven’s Storytelling As Leadership (SAL) is the first major event in the Braven experience. Fellows are empowered to share their personal stories in ways that highlight their assets and core values, setting the foundation for the next 15 weeks.
SPRING CAPSTONE CHALLENGE
Each semester, Braven partners with an employer for our Capstone Challenge, a 6 to 7-week engagement where Fellows use design thinking to prototype and present a solution to a real-world challenge proposed by the employer partner.
Due to the pandemic, Braven will be offered virtually in the fall. Safety, routine, and interaction are the three principles that are guiding our approach to strong virtual learning. Here are some of the tactics we’re employing tied to these design principles.
The last year has magnified the long history of systemic racism, ongoing inequity, and injustices that Black Americans live with every day. And across lines of difference, we are seeing the devastating impact of the pandemic on the health and wealth of our most vulnerable citizens.
Daily at Braven, we are fighting for equality of opportunity and economic justice. In our work, we are constantly reminded of the resilience of our Fellows who continue to overcome the challenges stacked against them. These students, and their families and communities, deserve a more just America in every way—and it’s up to us to be a part of the solution to create it.
Together we are helping to ensure our nation lives up to its foundational promise of creating equal opportunity for all. The future of our country, along with its future leaders, depends on it. Our nation's talented young people who are a remarkable source of ingenuity, hope, joy and wisdom deserve nothing less.