Graduate! Philadelphia was the first program in the country to align regional resources inside and outside of higher education specifically to help adults return and complete a degree.
Graduate! Philadelphia was created to support the 70,000+ adult residents in the City of Philadelphia who had started but never finished a two or four year college degree. Originating as a joint initiative of the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board (PWIB) and the Greater Philadelphia Economy League, in 2006, Graduate! Philadelphia became a managed partnership of the PWIB and the United Way of Southeastern PA. This governance arrangement provided the structure for broad community and employer engagement. In 2011, The Graduate! Network incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization with Graduate! Philadelphia as its flagship program.
A new idea in 2005, adult college completion is now a key component of the business and workforce development agendas for the following reasons:
- The most productive approach to economic success for regions, communities, and individuals is to increase the number of people with a college degree.
- Adults completing college infuse the talent pool with new skills, past experience, and maturity in handling social and business relationships.
- Increasing the earnings of adults has an immediate effect on entire families and communities.
- Adults are ready role models for both peers and young people in their social circles.
Graduate! Philadelphia’s collective impact model has been replicated in many local communities across the country through The Graduate! Network.