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Promise Zones Partner Up in Los Angeles and Philadelphia

A new phase of President Obama's Promise Zone anti-poverty initiative will take place simultaneously in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. AmeriCorps staff will be on hand to provide career coaching to high school students.
August 7, 2015, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Promise Zone initiative gives preferential status to several distressed communities when they apply for federal grants. Implemented in 2014, the Promise Zone program "was constructed as a policy laboratory for anti-poverty interventions." 

The project has now taken on a new dimension: cross-city collaboration and data-sharing. "For the first time ever, two Promise Zones — Los Angeles and Philadelphia — earned a grant worth $1.9 million over three years to work in tandem on decreasing high school dropouts and boosting college enrollment. With the money from the grant, 25 AmeriCorps members will be deployed to each city starting this fall, providing college and career advising to high school students."

"'One of the reasons we wanted the two-Promise Zone project was to exchange best practices across the zones,' says Dixon Slingerland, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Youth Policy Institute, the lead agency on the grant [...]" AmeriCorps participation will also address one of the Promise Zones' weak spots: providing advice on next steps to graduating high school seniors. 

While some still argue that the Promise Zones have been largely ineffective, it is hoped that the L.A.-Philly partnership will give the initiative new vigor.

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Published on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 in Next City
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