What is Project Ready?
Project Ready – a Signature Program of the National Urban League – is a set of evidence-based standards plus practical tools specially designed for and unique to the UL movement, for the purpose of getting African American and other urban youth ready for college, work and life. Project Ready supports 8th-12th grade students to make academic progress, benefit from cultural enrichment opportunities and develop important skills, attitudes and aptitudes that will aid in their transition from high school and position them for post-secondary success. Participants receive academic, social and cultural supports and opportunities designed to develop “readiness”: having the information and perspective necessary for success without needing remediation in college or career.
Urban League Project Ready programs follow the educational and youth development principles set forth in Nation Urban League’s Youth Development Framework and Guide, including the use of Planning and Activity Templates, designed to encourage intentional programming. All must use (in some way) the Project Ready 2.0 Curriculum, a publication with assessments and lesson plans in three components: Academic Achievement; Social Development; College Culture and Awareness. All must engage youth participants in at least two college visits and at least 20 hours of service learning. Programs following this basic outline are called Project Ready: Post-Secondary Success. In addition, Project Ready offers several optional enhancements, such as a focus on literacy, a special approach for middle-school students, and a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Project ReadySTEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is made possible through the support of Best Buy, BP, and State Farm and Verizon. Project Ready STEM operates with the goals of ensuring that urban students have the necessary supports and opportunities available to them to succeed in STEM-related class work, and exposing students to STEM-related careers. Throughout the year, Project Ready Students participate in various projects in a stimulating environment to increase their comfort level with and spark a greater affinity for S.T.E.M. subjects. Projects will include examination of levee systems, sand experiments, fuel efficiency and alternative fuels. Working with NOVAC (New Orleans Video Access Center), students honed their skills in videography, computer assisted design, production and editing, through completion of a Hurricane Preparedness Public Service Announcement.
Project Ready also allows youth to develop additional skills, build youth leadership and voice, exposes youth to important social, political and community issues, and better prepares them to be more active and thoughtful citizens.
The Urban League Project Ready students also created this PSA on texting and driving. State Farm and the National Urban League sponsored the project.
This is part of a series of S.T.E.M. service learning projects being completed by youth participating in the Urban League Project Ready programs.
Project Ready: Mentor, is a mentoring service for African-American and other urban youth ages 11-18 that are particularly vulnerable to disengagement from school, community and the world of work. Through Project Ready: Mentor, 55 students each receive at least 182 hours per year of individual and group mentoring. Mentor-youth activities include job shadowing, meaningful service learning projects and casual social interactions such as going to games or participating in hobbies that both share and enjoy. Urban League staff will help mentors create cultural, educational and career-specific activities to support youth development and enhance the mentor-youth relationship. At least four youth and a mentor are chosen to attend the National Urban League Youth Leadership Summit free of charge, which is held each year concurrent with the National Urban League Annual Conference.
Mentors (male or female) must be 21 or older and prepared to help young people learn about career and education options, relationship building, skill development and employer and academic expectations. Mentors must commit to meet at least monthly, and to remain with their assigned young people for at least one year in person and virtually for an additional six months of follow-up. Mentor recruits must attend an orientation, fill out an enrollment form and be entered into the Safety Net or MENTOR background check system.