Project Rise

Project Rise is a cohort-based initiative that provides educational and employment opportunities to low-income youth who are out of work and school. Project Rise is based on promising programs in New York City and creates new pathways to stability for young people through education, paid internships, and support services.

The Program Model
There are Project Rise sites in three cities – New York City, Kansas City, and Newark. The program serves low-income young people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are neither working nor in school and who lack a high school diploma or GED. At least half of each site’s participants must be reading between sixth and eighth grade levels at program start. The group cohesion and mutual support of the cohort environment is a critical part of the model. Participants are placed in a paid internship conditioned on regular attendance in educational classes and also receive job readiness preparation and strong individualized case management. Participant outcomes include transitioning from lower educational levels into a GED program, earning a GED, and obtaining employment in a full-time job.

The Evidence
Project Rise builds on two pioneering CEO programs in New York City: the Young Adult Literacy Program (YALP) and the Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP). Evaluations of both programs identified promising strategies for engaging disconnected youth. YALP provides instruction for youth with low literacy and numeracy skills; when coupled with a paid internship, program attendance increases. YAIP provides a short-term paid internship and job readiness training.  Approximately half of the young people who complete the program remain engaged in education or job placements nine months after completing their internship.  Both of these programs are being replicated through New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative (YMI), a cross-agency initiative aimed at improving outcomes for young black and Latino men relative to their peers. CEO oversees the implementation and evaluation of the majority of YMI programs.

The Evaluation
MDRC’s evaluation of the SIF Project Rise program includes an implementation study and analysis of participant outcomes, with particular emphasis on lessons relating to youth engagement and program participation. The evaluation provides valuable data on the types of disconnected youth enrolling in the program, the strategies used by different program providers, and post-program pathways for participants. The evaluation also explores the flow of interested participants into the program and whether Project Rise holds broad appeal for disconnected youth. To learn more about the activities youth engage in after completing the program, interviews were conducted with randomly selected youth at key points during the program and six months after program completion

  • The Door (Bronx, NY)
  • Henry Street Settlement (New York, NY)
  • Kingsborough Community College (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Full Employment Council (Kansas City, MO)
  • Rutgers University T.E.E.M. Gateway (Newark, NJ)

SIF Project Rise Evaluation Reports

“Engaging Disconnected Young People in Education and Work: Findings from the Project Rise Implementation Evaluation”

Reconnecting Disconnected Youth: The Early Experience of Project Rise

SIF Project Rise Background Research: