Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection

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Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HWSC) is a nationally recognized youth development program that helps at-risk youth stay in high school and graduate with the skills and confidence necessary to enter college or the workforce.

About this Program

Founded in 1987, HWSC is dedicated to reversing the trend of low high-school graduation rates, and helping students realize their potential—in the classroom, in the community and in life. The program identifies students in grades 7-12 who are capable of success but are in danger of dropping out of school and pairs them with a school-based Youth Advocate (YA) through graduation and until up to two years post-high school.

The core of the program is the close relationship between each student and their YA, a dedicated professional placed in the school who provides structure and motivation. YAs serve as mentors and role models, working with a caseload of 30 students at a time to address individual needs and obstacles that may impede student success. Applying a case-management approach, YAs are on call 24 hours a day. They partner with the students, parents and guardians, and other adults to benefit the student. With this team, they create an individual graduation plan with targeted goals to support high school graduation, job placement, career planning, college advancement and other personal goals.

The YA connects participating students to supportive services in three areas.

  • Academic Support—Tutoring, in school or at designated locations, supplements traditional classroom learning and helps students improve in vulnerable academic areas. Strong communication between YAs and teachers ensures that assignments and in-class obligations are met.
  • Job Readiness—HWSC’s Jobs Institute helps students define career goals, builds their soft skills and provides practical experience through the Youth Employment Training Academy. Following YETA certification, students can work part-time with a HWSC Employment Partner that helps them earn money while boosting their time-management and entry-level workforce skills.
  • Youth Development—Through regular check-ins with student families and other community supports, the YA provides guidance and advice that helps students stay focused and on course.

HWSC partners with local universities and other academic partners for tutoring support. After graduation, the program provides continuing support services including access to financial aid, resolution of college issues and employment counseling for post-graduate employment.


This program is eligible for youth in grades 7-12

The program is open to eligible students of participating school districts in Monroe County, Onondaga County, Broome County, Oneida County, and Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Additional eligibility criteria may apply.


HWSC programs are administered at middle and high schools in participating school districts, and in convenient community-based sites as needed.

Contact Information

Greater Rochester
Roderick Green
Executive Director

Syracuse / Binghamton
Karinda Shanes
Regional Executive Director

Prince George’s County, Maryland
Desiree Ramseur Gray
Regional Executive Director

Patricia Washington
Regional Executive Director

For details about this or any Hillside program, contact us 24 hours a day at 585-256-7500 or info@hillside.com

This Program Supported by participating school districts in Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Utica and Prince George’s County, Maryland; by generous private individual donors, local businesses and private and public foundations; and by the NYS Department of Education, the United Way, the NYS Office of Children and Family Services, Community Optional Preventative Services, the Alliance for Economic Inclusion, and the NYS Department of Labor.

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