Within weeks, thousands of Tarrant County high school seniors will graduate and move on to the next phase of their lives.
Unfortunately, many of them, especially low-income students, will be left wondering, “what’s next?”
The Tarrant To & Through Partnership (T3) is working to put them on a path toward careers and good-paying jobs.
Partners in the T3 initiative, including local business leaders, Fort Worth ISD and college and university administrators and members of the T3 team gathered Wednesday (May 4 ) at Texas Wesleyan University for a panel discussion and to the celebrate a multi-year gift of $2 million from JPMorgan Chase.
Launched in 2020, T3 aims to help students navigate the post-high school landscape to earn a technical certificate, two-year degree or a college bachelor’s degree to qualify for a multitude of unfilled jobs.
“Today is really the culmination of that conversation and that journey to get us to the place,” said Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, founding CEO of T3, a project she helped establish before her election last year.
“We believe, for a variety of reasons, the business community was an integral piece that was missing,” Parker said. “Thanks to the generosity, not only of JPMorgan Chase, but also the involvement of many of of you sitting in this room today,” T3 can expand from six high schools across all of Fort Worth and soon into high schools in other areas of Tarrant County.
Parker said Fort Worth and Tarrant County cannot achieve its full potential when only 14 percent of the low-income kids in Fort Worth and Tarrant County make it to a two-year or four-year credential, “you are simply not succeeding.”
JPMorgan Chase has been an partner in similar educational endeavors across the country and beyond, recognizing that the investment benefits not only opportunities for students but also the economic well-being of the communities. An in-house report by the banking giant prepared several years ago illustrates the unmet needs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“It is critical that we invest in our students so they can share fully in the opportunities that have been beyond the reach of too many,” said David Nolet, managing director and market leader for JPMorgan Chase in Tarrant County. “The T3 Partnership has a laser focus on preparing our students for the workforce of tomorrow by developing critical skills for in-demand careers.”
T3 Executive Director Natalie Young Williams said JP Morgan Chase’s generosity will be transformative for the program.
“With only 23 percent of our students achieving a higher education credential within six years of high school graduation, we know it is critical to reshape how we prepare our students for a successful pathway into college, career or the military,” she said.
According to T3 research, 39 percent of Tarrant County adults have earned an associate degree or higher yet 65 percent of current jobs require some sort of certification beyond a high school diploma.
T3 is designed to help students navigate the post-high school educational landscape through guidance and mentoring, applying for post-secondary programs and financial aid, assistance with obtaining tuition-free scholarships available to low and middle-income families and other services that support students and their families.
Higher education partners in T3 are Tarrant County College, Texas Christian University, Tarleton State University, Texas Wesleyan College, the University of North Texas, UNT Dallas, Texas Woman’s University and the University of Texas at Arlington.
Another feature of T3 places recent TCU graduates as mentors in high school classrooms to advise low-income, first generation and other under-served populations toward successful post-high school academic achievement.