Strada Education Network Invests $1 Million in Paul Quinn College’s Urban Work College Model Expansion
Strada Education Network announced today a $1 million grant award to Paul Quinn College, making it the first major investor in the college’s groundbreaking network of urban work colleges. Over the next two years, Strada’s grant will help fund the first expansion site of the urban work college model in Plano, Texas.
The Paul Quinn model aims to eradicate poverty by combining higher education at an affordable rate with access to quality work experience, year-round housing, and a significantly reduced student loan burden.
"We are honored that Strada Education Network shares our commitment to building tomorrow’s workforce and providing pathways out of poverty for hard-working students,” said Dr. Michael J. Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College. “Their willingness to invest in our model once again proves that they are visionaries. We are beyond proud to have them as our first investor in the expansion of the Urban Work College Model.”
PQC-Plano, and all other expansions of the model, will eschew the typically high overhead costs associated with maintaining a traditional college physical plant by providing alternative housing options for students and leveraging corporate and municipal partnerships to provide both internships and classroom space. Foundational corporate partners for PQC-Plano include NTT DATA, Aimbridge Hospitality, Ampex Brands, FedEx Office, Liberty Mutual, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and McDonald’s.
Paul Quinn was designated in 2017 as the ninth federally-recognized Work College by the U.S Department of Education. Since implementation of the Urban Work College Model, Paul Quinn has reduced tuition and fees by almost $10,000, lowered the average debt of its graduates by more than $30,000, and significantly improved student retention and graduation rates. The Urban Work College Model aims to effectively integrate work and higher education, resulting in more low-income, first-generation, working adults, and traditional-aged college students completing their college educations better prepared for sustained career success while keeping their student loan debt manageable.
“Strada is extremely proud to support Paul Quinn College and Michael Sorrell as they take the Urban Work College Model to the national stage,” said Bill Hansen, president and CEO of Strada Education Network. “We hope that our partnership will help propel the model to reach students in urban areas across the country and improve education-to-employment pathways for all students.”
Strada’s philanthropic strategy is aimed at piloting and scaling collaborative models and solutions that advance quality career advising, blending work and learning experiences, and enhancing institutional employer engagement to support learners as they transition into the workforce – advancing Strada’s mission: Completion With a Purpose.
About Paul Quinn College
Paul Quinn College is a private, faith-based, four-year, liberal arts-inspired college that was founded on April 4, 1872, by a group of African Methodist Episcopal Church preachers in Austin, Texas. The school’s original purpose was to educate freed slaves and their offspring. Today, we proudly educate students of all races and socio-economic classes under the banner of our institutional ethos, WE over Me. Our mission is to provide a quality, faith-based education that addresses the academic, social, and Christian development of students.
Under President Sorrell’s leadership, Paul Quinn has become one of the most innovative and respected small colleges in the nation and now serves as a model for urban higher education. Fortune magazine recognized President Sorrell’s work and the College’s transformation by naming him one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. President Sorrell is also a three-time award winner of HBCU Male President of the Year by HBCU Digest and was named by Time Magazine as one of the “31 People Changing the South.”
About Strada Education Network
Strada Education Network is a national nonprofit dedicated to improving lives by catalyzing more direct and promising pathways between education and employment. We engage with partners across education, nonprofits, business and government to focus relentlessly on students’ success throughout all phases of their working lives.