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Ready To Succeed (RTS) is a career and personal development program that provides American youth impacted by foster care as well as low-income first-generation college students with the resources, relationships and opportunities they need to thrive personally and professionally.
RTS was started in January 2016 by two non-profit organization veterans, Romi Lassally and Patrick McCabe, and originally just focused on foster youth. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based organization expanded to include low-income first-generation college students in January 2022.
There are more than 400,000 foster youth and 1.46 million first-generation college students in the United States. Through no fault of their own, they don’t have the same access to support or opportunities that their peers do. That’s where RTS comes in.
Scholars join RTS during their sophomore, junior or senior years and remain in the program throughout their first year of full-time employment. Each scholar receives personalized career and personal development coaching, access to an extensive professional network, paid internship experiences and annual scholarship funding to cover basic needs.
The program works this way:
New scholars are paired with career and personal development coaches.
Scholars attend monthly workshops, receive one-to-one communications coaching and are introduced to major players in their industry of choice.
RTS coaches help scholars create an Individual career plan and navigate the application and interview process.
Once placed at a job or internship, scholars receive ongoing career and personal support.
As a result of this commitment, 90 per cent of RTS scholars graduate from college within 4.5 years and are far more likely to secure employment. Ninety-four per cent of RTS scholars are placed in paid summer internships during college and 92 per cent secure jobs six months post-graduation.
That’s a major improvement from what most of these young people could usually expect.
Only three per cent of foster youth and 11 per cent of first-generation students graduate from college, according to RTS. Furthermore, it says 50 per cent of foster youth will be unemployed or underemployed, 29 per cent will be unable to pay rent, and 42 per cent will be convicted of a crime.
Though applications are closed for the 2022-23 school year, those eligible and interested in applying to RTS can learn more about the process here.
Companies or individuals looking to get involved with and support RTS through becoming an employment partner, recruitment advisor or mentor, or to participate in virtual workshops to discuss various career development topics, can find out more information here.
Tax-deductible donations to RTS can be made here.