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February 19, 2016


Carol Harmon, The Columbus Foundation,, 614/251-4000

Columbus Foundation’s New Pathways Project Focuses On Technology Training and Opportunities for At-risk Youth

COLUMBUS, OH (February 19, 2016)—Today The Columbus Foundation announced a new Critical Need Alert focused on creating positive futures for at-risk youth in Franklin County through strategic partnerships with three innovative nonprofits in the technology workforce development sector: Digital Works, i.c. Stars, and Per Scholas. The Pathways Project: Technology Training and Careers for At-risk Youth will help launch 125 in-demand technology careers for youth in Franklin County who are not in school and not working.

“Data-driven, comprehensive job readiness training and placement is a proven way to move the needle on improving the lives of at-risk youth,” said Douglas F. Kridler, Columbus Foundation president and CEO. 

“The Pathways Project is a timely opportunity to connect youth with central Ohio’s strong economy and workforce needs and to strengthen and improve our community.”

Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO

The Pathways Project was launched by the Foundation’s Governing Committee with a $200,000 grant, and the Foundation is partnering with its donors to raise an additional $400,000. It takes approximately $4,800 to train and launch one at-risk youth into a technology career path. 

Recent Foundation-commissioned research, Opportunity Awaits: Reconnecting Franklin County Young Adults to School and Workfocused on the education and employment challenges facing young adults, age 18 to 25, and identified best practices that offer sustainable solutions.  

“Our research led us to the strategy of credential attainment in this targeted industry where there are workforce needs and we can amplify existing successes,” said Lisa S. Courtice, Ph.D., executive vice president at The Columbus Foundation. “College isn’t the answer for everyone. We will help these smart, young people get back on track and see to their new technology careers being launched.”

There are more than 20,000 Opportunity Youth (young adults not college bound, age 16 to 25) in Franklin County who are not in school and not working. They produce a substantial fiscal and social cost, annually exceeding $647 million in lost productivity and tax revenue. There are approximately 1,200 annual technology openings that residents of central Ohio—if properly trained—could fill.

On February 19, the Foundation hosted Robert Putnam, Ph.D., professor of Public Policy at Harvard, who is working on research and strategic efforts to narrow the opportunity gap for youth. In his critically acclaimed book and New York Times Best Seller, Our Kids, Putnam writes, “For America’s poor kids do belong to us, and we to them. They are our kids.”

“Increasing opportunity for all our kids must happen at all levels, and community foundations like The Columbus Foundation are going to be instrumental in narrowing the existing gaps,” said Putnam. “Strategies like The Columbus Foundation's Critical Need Alert provide much needed on ramps to success for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Learn MORE about The Pathways Project:
Technology Training and Careers for At-risk Youth


About The Columbus Foundation
The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic advisor® to 2,400 individuals, families, and businesses who have created charitable funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Serving the region for more than 70 years, The Columbus Foundation is the seventh largest community foundation in the United States. The Foundation’s online marketplace, PowerPhilanthropy,® makes giving mobile, easy, and smart. For more information, visit or call 614/251-4000.

About Critical Need Alerts
Critical Need Alerts (CNAs) were created for donors and community members who want to participate in a shared investment opportunity and partner with the Foundation to support our community’s greatest needs and best opportunities to meet those needs. To date, CNAs have leveraged more than $6 million for a wide range of initiatives including childcare, food for families, basic needs, fresh food, and the arts. CNA’s are identified by our Community Research and Grants Management team, which strategically verify local nonprofits to ensure the most effective philanthropy possible.