A first-of-its-kind, learn and earn fellowship program for recent high school graduates
To fulfill Rooted School’s mission of providing underserved and talented teenagers with career and financial pathways, the Green Balloon Fellowship program connects graduates ages 18-22 to jobs with pioneering companies in their local regions. Following our success in New Orleans, we aim to expand this program to additional partner communities facing similar challenges.
How the Green Balloon Fellowship Works
For this learn and earn style program, the Rooted School team first works to find out what companies need, focusing on a position’s KPIs, Industry Based Certifications, and soft skills. Then we reverse engineer our programming with the IBC or technical assessment as the blueprint for basic competence.
Eight out of ten Rooted School graduates earned at least one tech industry training credential, including in Autodesk Inventor, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, CIW Advanced HTML and CSS3 certification, and inbound sales and email marketing programs.
Once we understand the KPIs and credentials, we deploy high-touch and wrap-around strategies any effective educator would to ensure mastery in a classroom, which is why our fellows have been so successful during our pilot year. We’ve found that it’s very hard to turn down someone right out of high school who can competently meet KPIs for a role that companies struggle to hire college graduates for.
The Green Balloon Fellowship in New Orleans
The Green Balloon Fellowship exists for reasons similar to why Rooted School was founded in the first place: New Orleans was and is facing a significant existential challenge—as well as an opportunity.
The challenge is that the average child born in this city is earning $30,000 a year by the age of 35. The challenge is that we live in a tale of two cities, where there is a $40,000 gap in median household income between white families and black families. This gap isn’t showing signs of reducing itself, with rapid gentrification happening in New Orleans and higher-paying jobs going to people who were not born in this community.
Amid these challenges, New Orleans has been nicknamed the Silicon Bayou because of the projected growth of thousands of family-sustaining jobs across several industries, many of them within tech. Many of these are jobs that are basic and middle-skill and don’t require 4-year college degrees, but still require more than a high school diploma—and many companies struggle to find local talent to meet those needs.
Rooted School graduates within this learn and earn program have found great success after high school. Our New Orleans Green Balloon Fellows now work at companies including:
Rooted School Is Seeking Partner Communities!
We have been encouraged by the success of this program in improving the lives of New Orleans Rooted School students. As we grow the fellowship over time, our hope is to build a network of demonstration cities for how to create a grow-your-own talent pipeline that is K-12 and employer-driven, and we’re seeking partner communities to make it happen.
If you’d like to begin establishing the Green Balloon Fellowship to help youth within your community, please contact us! We can do this—but it will take bold, pioneering companies and communities to make it work.