College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

0 1473
Diversity relies on deeper talent pool in Boston

How to Achieve Diversity in Boston and Massachusetts Business

by Gary Kaplan, Executive Director of JFYNetWorks and David Driscoll, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Education. | Originally published by the Boston Business Journal on 11/11/16. See the original post here.

Speaking to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce last month, Mayor Walsh challenged Boston’s business leaders to confront their lack of diversity and to assemble a workforce and leadership teams reflective of the city’s demographics. The response was enthusiastically positive. But how can diversity actually be achieved?

Leadership teams rise from the workforce, and the workforce of the Boston and Massachusetts business community comes more than ever from the college graduate pool. Promotion through the ranks is a natural process of corporate capillarity. Despite the steps that many businesses are taking to improve diversity, in order for more people of color to rise through the workforce there has to be a more diverse pool of college graduates. This is where the problem begins.

0 508
JFYNetWorks creates opportunity

The domino effect for HS students

Only 9% of low-income students earn a college degree. YOU can change that in 2017.

Midnight is the deadline to make a tax-deductible donation in 2016. Please donate so more low-income students will finish college.

Your tax-deductible gift to JFYNetWorks does so much good! It helps high school students:

Improve test scores -> Eliminate remedial classes -> Eliminate tuition + fees -> Finish college.

Nearly 4,000 students were helped in 2016. Our goal is 5,000 students next year.

Your support is needed more than ever now to reach that goal next year.

Help A Student Today, Donate to JFYNetWorks

With your help, we can save students over $1 million in college tuition and fees next year – so they’ll stay in college and finish their degree.

Don’t wait, do one last good deed and make your generous tax-deductible gift now.

Thank you in advance for generosity. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!


Gary Kaplan
Executive Director

0 136

Patti Parisella
617-338-0815 x 222

JFYNetWorks joins the Global #GivingTuesday Movement pledges to prepare urban youth for successful college entry without the need for remedial courses.

Boston, MA November 23, 2016 – JFYNetWorks has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. JFYNetWorks helps urban high school students prepare for successful college entry with blended learning instructional programs that eliminate the need for remedial college courses.

Occurring this year on November 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely-recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

Less than half of Massachusetts high school graduates get any type of college degree. In our economy, these young people are unable to compete for better jobs, higher incomes, stable and secure lives. The biggest obstacle to getting a college degree is the remedial college course. Remedial courses cost full tuition and fees but give zero credits toward a degree. Most students have to take more than one and as many as three or four.

Remedial courses are required for students who score low on college placement tests because their reading and math skills are below college level, and because they have not been prepared for the tests. Each year, 7,000 students entering our public higher education system are placed in remediation. 85% will drop out of college without a degree. Their ability to contribute to the Massachusetts economy will be limited, with consequences for themselves and for employers who need skilled workers.

JFYNetWorks helps students build the skills to meet college requirements with blended learning programs in high schools. So far, our JFYNet blended learning program has helped Massachusetts students eliminate 3500 remedial courses and save $2 million in wasted costs. We have joined #GivingTuesday to help thousands more high school students in Boston, Springfield, Revere, Quincy, Lowell, Haverhill and other cities around the state improve their skills, raise their placement scores and eliminate remedial courses, clearing the path to a degree. JFYNet gives young people the chance to gain the education and the jobs they need for a secure, stable and self-sufficient future.

“JFYNet College Readiness is the missing link in our education-workforce pipeline,” said former Education Commissioner David Driscoll, under whose stewardship the program began. “It has proved its effectiveness for more than a decade. If we had this program in every urban high school in the Commonwealth, we would have the skilled workforce our companies need and the expanding middle class our economy needs. College Readiness is the key to economic growth and social stability. This program can deliver it.”

92Y − a cultural center in New York City that, since 1874, has been bringing people together around its core values of community service and giving back − conceptualized #GivingTuesday as a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. In 2015, the fourth year of the movement, #GivingTuesday brought together over 45,000 partners in 71 countries and helped raise nearly $117 Million online in the US alone.

“We have been incredibly inspired by the generosity in time, efforts and ideas that have brought our concept for a worldwide movement into reality,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday and executive director of 92Y. “As we embark on our fifth year of #GivingTuesday, we are encouraged by the early response from partners eager to continue making an impact in this global conversation.”

Those who are interested in joining JFYNetWorks’ #GivingTuesday initiative can visit For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (, Facebook page ( or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media.

JFYNetWorks (JFY) is a Boston-based non-profit organization founded in 1976 under the name Jobs For Youth with the mission of helping disadvantaged urban youth and young adults prepare for and find jobs. Services have been adapted continuously over the years to keep pace with the changing demands of the labor market. Today, JFY focuses on college readiness, which is defined by the state as “measured ability to qualify for admission to degree-credit college courses, without remediation.” Entering college at the credit-earning level increases the probability of completing college and successfully entering the workforce.

JFY has a 39-year history of conceiving, developing and conducting programs to enhance the economic opportunity and social mobility of low-income urban youth and young adults. These programs have utilized various education and training strategies over the years as the labor market has evolved, from competency-based GED instruction to biotechnology lab training to online college preparation. Our strategy throughout has been to recognize changes in the economy and adjust our programs to the new labor market demands. In making these adjustments, we always seek a point of leverage where our intervention can make a decisive difference and provide a scalable and sustainable model for expansion to large-scale outcomes.

The consistent mission and goal of JFY has been to increase the economic opportunity and social mobility of disadvantaged, primarily urban, youth through education and training programs that meet the demands of the labor market. Today, college-level skills – with or without the degree – are the threshold of employability. Hence the program JFYNet College and Career Readiness.

For more information, contact: Patti Parisella at 617-338-0815 x 222 or

— END —

0 2380
Madison Park Technical Vocational High School Student

It’s Time for Madison Park To Get Some Respect

by Gary Kaplan

The Boston Globe Magazine’s recent article on vocational education (School of Work, 10/2/16) came down like a ton of raw concrete on Boston’s Madison Park Technical Vocational High School.  One commentator blamed Madison Park for “vocational education’s tarnished reputation in Massachusetts” while another recommended scrapping the school altogether and “start[ing] over again.”  There are legitimate reasons to be frustrated with Madison Park; but there are better options than the dumpster.

0 1285
Workplace skills then and now: The Lesson of Inland Steel

Workplace Skills Then and Now: The Lesson of Inland Steel

by Gary Kaplan

“Sorry, son, we can’t hire you. You’re overqualified.”

Thus ended my career as a steelworker. The place was Inland Steel in East Chicago, Indiana. The time was the 1970s. I was looking for an interim job while I plotted my next career move. I thought that working in a steel mill would be educational, in addition to bringing in some serious, and seriously needed, cash.

I had grown up in the Calumet Region of Northwest Indiana, one of the world’s largest concentrations of heavy industry. Steel mills and oil refineries were the landscape of my childhood. Many of my high school classmates had gone directly to work at Inland, Youngstown, US Steel or Standard Oil and were well on their way to owning a house, a car, a cabin in Michigan, a boat, and eventually a union pension. Though I had been around the mills my whole life, I had never been inside them. I thought it was time I found out how America’s industrial might was created.

    0 687
    JFYNetWorks Staff

    JFYNetWorks Staff Wrap Up Year With Thanks

    by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

    The school year isn’t over until you’ve counted up the numbers. Last week, the staff of JFYNetWorks finished tallying the results of the 2015-16 year. We had over 3600 students working on college readiness in our 13 Massachusetts schools and two out of state. They logged thousands of hours of blended instruction in reading and math and gained tens of thousands of points on our assessment tests. On the crucial metrics of remedial courses eliminated and tuition and fees saved, they did themselves, and us, proud. They eliminated more than 460 remedial college courses and saved $272,000 in tuition and fees that can now be invested in credit-earning courses. Added to our previous totals, JFYNetWorks has helped students eliminate 2500 remedial courses and save $1,371,000. If we look happy in this picture, that’s why.

    0 683
    JFYNetWorks featured on The Giving Common

    The Giving Common is Your Place for Informed Giving in Massachusetts

    by Paula Paris, JFYNetWorks Deputy Director

    JFYNetWorks is proud to announce our newly published profile now featured on The Giving Common, and we invite you to visit us there. In our profile you will find the most current and comprehensive in-depth look into JFYNetWorks – our programs, history, operations, staff, governance, finances, unique features, community impact, achievements and challenges – all in a reader-friendly format. We hope these narratives and data answer most of the questions you would want to ask about JFYNetWorks and that you will want to know even more.

    0 808
    JFYNet 2016 Partner Schools

    YOU DID IT! CLASS OF 2016!

    We are exceedingly proud of JFYNet Partner Schools. The schools’ commitment to the success of their students is evident in all they do. We are especially proud of this year’s graduation classes. Congrats JFYNet Partner School Grads!

    0 854
    Rising to readiness through blended learning

    Readiness through blended learning reaps benefits for all students.

    by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning Specialist

    Since joining JFYNetWorks as a Blended Learning Specialist last fall, I have had the opportunity to visit many schools and interact with many students. Despite my many years of experience in the classroom and additional years in statewide education administration, this was a new and eye-opening experience. It has proved to be challenging, and extremely rewarding.

    Having spent the better portion of my professional life working with students who face barriers to learning, I can empathize with their struggles and with the challenges their teachers face on a daily basis. As an educator, I have always believed that where there is a will, there is a way.