Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection
Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, an affiliate of Hillside Family of Agencies, is a nationally recognized youth development program proven to increase graduation rates and prepare students within the city school districts of Rochester and Syracuse, New York and Prince George’s County, Maryland students, to enter college or the workplace, post-graduation. The program provides long-term advocacy, academic resources, life skills development, and job training, resulting in self-sufficient, contributing adults for the community.
Students enroll in the program in seventh through ninth grade and HW-SC continues to support students for up to two years after high school graduation. School-based youth advocates provide 360° support to help students develop good habits, acquire essential skills, and achieve their potential to become contributing, responsible young people at home, in school, and at work.
Jason was at risk of dropping out of school in eighth grade due to drug and alcohol abuse problems at home. His school attendance record was poor and his grade point average had dropped. When he enrolled in Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, he was assigned a youth advocate who offered support and helped Jason overcome obstacles at home and in school. His grades improved from a D average to a B average. In high school, Jason got a part-time job with Wegmans. He graduated from school early and, thanks to scholarships for his academic achievement and leadership skills, Jason is currently in college
Reclaiming our richest resource: our youth
HW-SC reaches out to youth with at least two research-based risk factors that significantly increase the probability for dropping out of school:
• Low socio-economic status (family meets poverty guidelines)
• Failing grade in core subjects
• Multiple school suspensions
• Low Standardized Test Scores
•Over age for grade level
•Higher rates of absenteeism
How we help
Youth advocates develop strong relationships with students and their families. They serve as role models as they help students identify goals, develop positive study habits, and overcome obstacles to learning.
Youth advocates work closely with teachers and school administrators to ensure that students come to class prepared to learn. They link students to tutoring services, when necessary.
Life and social skills
HW-SC students participate in the Teen Outreach Program (TOP), an evidence-based curriculum proven to prevent teen pregnancy, help participants understand and evaluate future life options, and increase school success.
HW-SC helps students explore career opportunities and provides Youth Employment Training, including mock interviews and basic office skills. Students who demonstrate a positive attitude, good attendance, and good grades in core subjects are eligible for part-time employment with area businesses.
HW-SC partners with local foundations, employers, and higher education institutions to offer scholarships and incentives for students to continue their education beyond high school.
Success through community collaboration
Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection was created by Wegmans Food Markets in 1987 in response to a call to action from the Urban League of Rochester and the Council for Educational Development to reduce the area’s high dropout rate. The program became a Hillside affiliate in 1996 to expand opportunities for collaboration within the business community. HW-SC continues to succeed thanks to strong partnerships with all sectors of the community:
- Parents/guardians are involved in every aspect of HW-SC’s work with youth.
- School districts are seeking preventive initiatives.
- Local government understands the value of investing in youth.
- The business community helps mentor and develop youth as both an investment in the future of the community and a fiscally prudent staffing strategy.
- Higher education institutions provide scholarships and financial aid to make college affordable for HW-SC families.
Proven success and national recognition
HW-SC has also received several national recognitions, including the National Youth Employment Coalition’s 2003 PEPNet Award for best practices in youth employment and development. Recipients of this prestigious award are considered to be some of the strongest youth programs in the country.
Strengthened by our Hillside affiliation
Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection is an affiliate of Hillside Family of Agencies, the area’s oldest and most trusted family and youth services organization. Hillside is the first place families turn for advice and help, not just in times of crisis, but through all the stages of parenting. No matter where youth and families enter our system, they have access to the complete range of Hillside services at locations across Western and Central New York.
For more information
To learn more about Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, call (585) 256-7500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“[HW-SC students] are now becoming the examples for others to follow. As an employer, that gives me a lot of incentive to hire them. I’ve come to the understanding that we're better off hiring our students out of the Hillside program that have had Youth Employment Training than taking a kid… that has had no exposure to any kind of training.”
Ty Kelly, Wegmans Store Manager
“It seems like I’ve been waiting my whole life to become a nurse. It’s going to be a little bit of a struggle, but I can get through it because of the techniques that I was taught at Hillside. I know how to overcome the obstacles, the challenges.”
Candice, HW-SC graduate
"We are lucky to have a national model for helping turn at-risk students into successful graduates. It is the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. The Hillside formula is simple: a mentor, a tutor and a job. When students who are struggling receive a mentor, a tutor and a job, their graduation rates more than double. Despite the tough budget year, I plan to work with City Council, community leaders and school officials on ways that we can increase support for this valuable initiative."
Mayor Duffy - excerpt from 4/27/09 State of the City address.