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Innovations in the Field: Bronx Opportunity Network

Innovations in the Field is a series examining inventive programs supported by JobsFirstNYC. It has traditionally focused on workforce efforts that serve both employers and young adults in New York City. We are excited to expand its scope with this third installment, which focuses on an innovative college access partnership for underprepared and low-income young adults in the Bronx. True to the Innovations in the Field standard, this edition focuses on how providers collaborate rather than compete with one another to achieve optimal success. It illustrates best practices in college access work and addresses service gaps, that might otherwise deter many young adults from earning a college degree.

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The Bronx Opportunity Network (BON) is a collaboration of seven Bronx-based organizations with long histories of delivering social services throughout the borough. After three years of planning and design, the BON officially launched in 2011 with a mission to enable underprepared Bronx students to improve their academic skills, overcome personal barriers, and enroll in and complete college.

Since its launch, BON has served a total of 490 students. Of these students, 223 have graduated or remained enrolled in college, representing a total success rate of 54 percent, which compares favorably to both CUNY’s overall figures and the rate of a comparison group of demographically and academically similar students at Hostos and Bronx Community Colleges where the vast majority of BON students enroll. Additionally, the BON partnership has forged strong relationships with Hostos and Bronx Community Colleges, influencing a host of unprecedented policy reforms at both schools.

This report includes key information and quotes from the Network’s founders and leaders, as well as data on the BON’s outcomes, progress, and systemic impact to date. Finally, it includes a list of key opportunities for the BON to take advantage of as it continues to help students prepare to enter and succeed in college.

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