The Graduate! Network and our partners have been working tirelessly for the past 15 years to increase the number of adults completing college by aligning existing resources, removing barriers, and creating new pathways for adults.
The first half of 2020 has been an unprecedented time in our work — and our lifetimes. Long-existing racial disparities in systems intended to protect and elevate all of us have been exposed. We are in the midst of a reckoning that challenges us to dismantle the systems of racism and white supremacy that are endemic to our nation.
We believe the work you are doing in your communities is critical to an equitable and fair future. The intentions of equity, diversity and inclusion are embedded in the very fabric and DNA of the Graduate! movement. We started Graduate! to address race, access and income inequities, first in Philadelphia and then across the country, as a moral, civic and economic imperative. Graduate! Network directors and advisors/navigators on the ground deal with institutional barriers, but also with institutional racism and cultural gaps.
This year’s LearnX will be unlike any we’ve had before. We will carry forth the pledge we made to the Network earlier this year to name these issues, and explicitly work to ameliorate them. To these ends, we are crafting an agenda through the lens of educational equity and will grapple with what the ongoing uncertainty caused by the novel coronavirus means for workforce development and higher education. We will explore ways to help our communities develop the expertise and resources that help them achieve their individual goals. And we will elevate the voice of Comebackers so together we keep the core of our work at the center of our discourse.