The State of New York has announced that Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC), an affiliate of Hillside Family of Agencies, will receive a $3 million incentive award from the $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) funding earned by the Rochester/Finger Lakes region earlier this year. The incentive award, matched by private donations, will provide a total of $6 million in increased support for HW-SC—enabling significant expansion in the Rochester area, where 2,100 students currently participate in the program.

“Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection has always been a true public-private partnership, and this New York State incentive award—to be matched by private funds—is a strong endorsement of our program and its commitment to youth,” said Dennis Richardson, President and CEO of Hillside Family of Agencies. “This enhanced support will enable more Rochester students to achieve their goals, and drive greater results for our entire community.”

Founded in 1987, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection has a long history of improving graduation rates for participating youth. In the 2015-2016 academic year, Rochester City School District students who remained with the program from grade 9 graduated at a rate of 90 percent – and similar or greater results are seen in every region where HW-SC is offered.

Those results translate to high community value, according to a benefit-cost analysis conducted by the University of Rochester Warner School of Education. In that study, every dollar invested in the program was found to yield $4.75 in overall community benefits for all students exposed to the program, and $10.29 in community benefits for African American men who begin the program in grade 9 and find part-time work through Hillside’s Youth Employment Training Academy.

“Every dollar invested in Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection has been proven to yield much greater long-term value for youth in the program, and the communities in which they live,” said Augustin Melendez, President of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. “With this award, we’re excited to extend its positive benefits to more students than ever before.”

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