Rooted School’s High School Graduates Receive Jobs at Fortune 500 Companies and Scholarships to Top Tier Universities Across America

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May 14, 2022

The charter school’s 2021 graduates chose to attend universities such as Tulane, Villanova and Case Western Reserve, and work at top tech companies including Entergy, Ochsner and Lucid 

  • Rooted School is one of the most innovative high school models in the U.S., with the aim to rapidly reduce America’s wealth gap by connecting underserved and talented teenagers with career pathways.

  • The school’s curriculum gives students an active role in their future careers by teaching skills that are in-demand for today’s most successful job sectors.

  • Eight out of ten graduates earned at least one tech industry training credential, including in Autodesk Inventor, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CIW Advanced HTML & CSS3 certification and inbound sales and email marketing programs.

  • Rooted Schools are in New Orleans, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Washington, and proposed in Clark County, Nevada.

New Orleans – June 17, 2021 — Rooted School, which provides its high school graduates with a college acceptance in one hand, and a job in the other, announced the majority of its 2021 graduates accepted full-time entry level jobs at tech companies or received scholarships to competitive four-year universities such as Tulane, Villanova and Case Western Reserve. 43% of its college-bound students will be the first in their family to go to college and Rooted School graduates earned more than $1M in merit-based scholarships and grants. Two students received the Posse scholarship and one earned the Mayoral Scholarship, which includes a full-ride to Tulane University.

Rooted School began as a public charter high school in 2017 by Jonathan Johnson, a former teacher and community leader. As a first generation college graduate, he understood how gaps in wealth and income equality disproportionately affect the lifetime wealth outcomes for Black and Brown communities in the U.S.

“The American Dream is on its deathbed due to our generational wealth gap,” said Jonathan Johnson, Rooted School founder and CEO of the Rooted School Foundation. “This doesn’t have to be the case. We have Rooted School graduates entering into IT, energy, and healthcare careers, straight out of high school, with no educational debt,” he said. “Other graduates received merit scholarships to attend 4-year universities, and these young people will be able to save, invest, and change the wealth trajectory of their families this generation,”  he added.

Rapidly Reducing America’s Wealth Gap Through The Green Balloon Fellowship

In 2021, the average wealth for white families in America is $700K higher than the average wealth of Black and Brown families. Non-white families statistically have lower career earnings and higher debts. In a recent study, McKinsey found that Black workers are underrepresented in the highest-growth geographies and the highest-paying industries, but overrepresented in low-growth geographies and in frontline jobs, which tend to pay less.

In New Orleans, there is a $40,000 household wealth gap between white and Black families. The average local Black family earns $6,000 less than America’s living wage. 20% of Rooted School graduates are participating in the Green Balloon Fellowship program, which gives graduates the option to pursue a full-year entry-level job at a tech company post-graduation.

“Entergy is pleased to partner with the Rooted School Foundation. We know firsthand that the pathway to financial freedom for members of the communities we serve can be directly impacted by our investments in workforce and economic development programs like the Green Balloon Fellowship,” said Taiwan Brown, vice president, diversity & workforce strategies at Entergy Corporation.

Entergy is one of the city’s top Fortune 500 companies and has hired three Rooted School graduates. Other companies that hired Rooted School graduates this year include Lucid, Ochsner, Square Button, Revelry, Skilltype and Levelset.

“Rooted School graduates will earn a living wage of at least $32,000 per year, which is more than the average family of the neighborhoods they live in,” said Johnson. “America has been dealt the best hand of any country. But not every child has a chance to play it. Giving students the option to shape their life is how you improve opportunity,” he added.

Rooted School Leverages Education and Opportunity 

Prior to founding Rooted School, Johnson taught with Teach For America in New Orleans and spent four years as an 8th-grade teacher for KIPP Central City Academy. After witnessing the need to shift students’ financial, as well as educational wellbeing, Johnson created a vision to change the game. After postulating that the quickest way to reduce the wealth gap is through opportunity, he created the Rooted School model that aims to provide debt-free educational and career opportunities to disenfranchised youth. Rooted School received the Innovation and Public Education Award from Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools in 2018.

Johnson’s work with Rooted School has resulted in numerous industry accolades, including the Fishman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. He’s also been recognized as being in the top percent of social entrepreneurs in the world by Echoing Green, and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s “The Giving Pledge” recognized Jonathan as one of the country’s most innovative school builders. Jonathan is also an alumnus of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Fellowship Program.

To learn more about Rooted School and its mission, visit www.RootedSchool.org. The website includes additional information about the 2021 graduates, partner companies for the Green Balloon Fellowship, and materials for families interested in enrolling their student at Rooted School New Orleans. Press may contact press@rootedschool.org.

About Rooted School

Rooted School is widely recognized as one of the most innovative high school models in the U.S. Its vision is to rapidly close America’s inequality gap by providing its high school graduates with a college acceptance in one hand, and a job in the other. With the right training, increased expectations, and access to opportunities, the U.S. can leverage talented teenagers to meet its increasingly demanding workforce requirements. Rooted Schools are in New Orleans, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Washington and proposed in Clark County, Nevada. Graduates attend colleges such as Tulane, Villanova and Case Western Reserve, and work at Fortune 500 companies including Entergy, Ochsner and Lucid. For more information, visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn.

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