American Talent Initiative
A Bloomberg Philanthropies-supported collaboration between the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, the American Talent Initiative is a coalition of top colleges and universities working to recruit, enroll, and graduate 50,000 more talented students from lower-income families by 2025. While the effort made strong initial progress, COVID-19 created major challenges for many member schools and resulted in enrollment declines among these students across the country – leading the initiative to launch a recommitment campaign to set ambitious goals and reverse the recent decline.
To date, 128 colleges and universities, including state flagship universities, small liberal arts colleges, and the entire Ivy League, have recommitted to enrolling more high-achieving, lower-income students through the American Talent Initiative. Their work is especially critical as the academic and economic impacts of the pandemic threaten to put college out of reach for even more talented young Americans.
Increased the share of Pell students enrolled from 21 to 25 percent between 2015 and 2019 and continued to grow Pell enrollment through 2020.
Need-Blind Admissions at Johns Hopkins University
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ historic $1.8 billion gift in 2018 made Johns Hopkins need-blind and it deepened Mike’s longstanding commitment to scholarship funding through the Bloomberg Scholars Program and beyond. Over the past two decades, with Mike’s support, the share of students in the freshman class from underrepresented minorities has increased from fewer than seven percent to nearly 36 percent in the Class of 2025 – the most diverse class ever. First-generation college students make up nearly 18 percent of the freshman class.
Building 21st-Century Job Skills
Career and Technical Education
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests across the United States to improve skills- and jobs-based training in high schools, with the goal to provide greater economic mobility and strong middle-class career opportunities for students not heading to four-year colleges after high school. The initiative supports innovative work-based programs, which embed high schoolers within the workplace and offer paid work experience in industries with strong demand, and school-based career programs, which provide students with career and technical education courses, industry credentials, and some work experience within their school curriculum.
Since 2016, the initiative has supported 13 early-stage programs that have provided more than 15,000 students with skills and credentials to help them access middle- and high-skilled 21st-century jobs. In 2021, the effort expanded to nine U.S. cities and two states across the country. Backed by strong local leadership and partnerships among local industries, schools, and post- secondary institutions, these models allow other cities to learn from and adopt what works.
Helping to launch CareerWise DC, an expansion of the successful apprenticeship program CareerWise Colorado that Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported since its inception.