Education Initiatives

Student Pathways to Success

Media contact: Miles Grant, 703-864-9599 (m),

New Coalition Launches to Build Education Pathways, Grow Skilled Workforce, Improve Economic Mobility

Poll: Voters Consider Education Among Next Governor’s Top Priorities


October 27, 2022 (BOSTON) – Nearly 70% of Massachusetts voters agree we must ensure that every high school student in every community has good choices that are right for every student, including 2- and 4-year college degrees, technical and vocational education, according to a poll released today by a new coalition committed to expanding student pathways to post-high school economic opportunity.


Student Pathways to Success is a cross-sector coalition of organizations committed to educational equity and that represent students, parents, educators, and employers. It aims to universalize access to a meaningful and relevant high school education for all students that puts them on a pathway to college and career success. Members include Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, EdTrust Massachusetts, Educators for Excellence, Latinos for Education, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, Massachusetts High Technology Council, Massachusetts Parents United, Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, Teach Plus, and Urban League of Springfield.


“Today in Massachusetts, too many students graduate high school unprepared for college and careers while at the same time good-paying jobs go unfilled,” said Edward M. Lambert, Jr., Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. “Our coalition believes that Massachusetts can address some of our most pressing challenges by creating stronger connections between what students are learning in high school and the economic opportunities our employers are creating. This is about adding choices that improve options for high school graduates and building a diverse, skilled workforce pipeline to drive and sustain economic growth.”


The poll, conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, shows Massachusetts voters believe:

  • Nine in ten voters say our next governor must put education improvements among their top priorities (88%) with two in ten saying it must be our next governor’s top priority (20%). • Every Massachusetts high school student should be able to get a jump start on a future career by allowing them to earn college credits and credentials necessary for good paying jobs and economic mobility (89% support).
  • Students must have education pathways that feature good choices that are right for every student, including 2- and 4-year college degrees, and technical and vocational education (68% strongly agree).
  • Access to programs that prepare students for college and good careers should not be dictated by your zip code (68% strongly agree).
  • Every high school student should experience more career connected learning (54% strongly agree).


“Disparities in educational opportunity perpetuate a system of wage, wealth and opportunity gaps,” said Robert Lewis, Jr., Nicholas President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. “By expanding the pathways to economic opportunity – starting in high school – we can reverse this trend and expand options for our young people.”


Student Pathways to Success recognizes that a “one size” approach to education, particularly in high school, is not working to meet either graduate or workforce needs. Our goals are designed to expand options for students, including:

  • By 2030, every high school student in Massachusetts will be on a personalized learner pathway and have opportunities to:
    • Earn college credit
    • Participate in work-based learning
    • Attain industry-recognized credentials
    • Receive dedicated career counseling
  • Every public high school will offer structured pathway programs that are aligned with valuable postsecondary degrees, high-growth industries, or in-demand occupations.
  • Every high school student will have coursework or elements from different pathway programs to prepare them to meet their goals for success in higher education and the workforce.


“Despite leading the nation in many educational categories, too many Massachusetts students are leaving high school ill-equipped to take advantage of opportunities in the state’s economy,” said Joe Boncore, CEO of MassBio. “When we provide equitable and varied pathways for high school students in every region of the Commonwealth, we better prepare our young people to enter higher education or careers and fill the countless job openings in high-demand industries like the life sciences.”


The poll was conducted among 800 voters in Massachusetts from September 7-14, 2022, using an online survey. The results were weighted to ensure proportional responses.


About Student Pathways to Success

Student Pathways to Success, a cross-sector coalition of organizations committed to educational equity and that represent students, parents, educators, and employers, aims to expand access to a meaningful and relevant high school experience that puts students on a path to college and career success.

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Senior Programs-Productive Aging

The Foster Grandparent Program

Is a nationwide volunteer program.  Everyday in communities across America the Foster Grandparents are the people children in need depend on for love, wisdom and support.

The Foster Grandparents are:

  1. 55 Years of age
  2. Can volunteer an average of 20 hours a week
  3. Have limited income and love children.
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Youth Development

The Digital Connectors Program

The Digital Connectors Program was created to address the barriers to technology adoption and use, especially among young people, within low-income communities. Digital Connectors is a best practice, youth development movement that engages teens and young adults, ages 14-21, in leadership development, digital education, life skills management and community service. By learning and involving themselves in their respective communities, taking field trips to high tech companies and hearing from emerging leaders, youth are able to hone technical competencies and grasp lifelong principles that inspire educational advancement and workforce preparation. Nationally, these young people connect to each other through the Connectors Club website, a social networking and information portal that gives them to ability to access and share information about college, jobs and life skills.

The SUL has partnered with National Urban League, the Lilly Foundation, Comcast, One Economy and the STCC Business Center to deliver services to Digital Connectors. The Digital Connectors Program curriculum focuses on: Leadership

& Diversity; Personal Development; Workforce Development; Financial Literacy; Community Mapping; Digital Literacy; Hardware & Network; Software & Programming; Media Production & Civic Journalism; Environment & Sustainability; Service & Global Engagement; Teaching & Facilitation.

Through learning about their respective roles in their communities, thinking critically about how media affects their lives, producing their own media about pressing issues, and practicing team-building and leadership skills, youth are able to master technical competencies and practice lifelong principles that inspire educational advancement, workforce preparation and local or global citizenry. The reward to Digital Connectors is computer hardware, coupled with an affordable solution for in-home Internet access.

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SUL Youth STEM Enrichment Program

A Huge congratulation to all of the Shark Tank Competition Winners and participants:

  • John (first place)
  • Angel (Second Place)
  • Jerry (Third Place)
  • Gabe, Evan, and Tanyon (runner-up winners)





The STEM Program is a College Readiness initiative that combines STEM enrichment with leadership, communications and social skills development, and aligns with the Urban League’s focus on helping minority and low-income students enter and complete post-secondary education prepared for careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.


The SUL has partnered with the Donohue Institute of the University of Massachusetts to provide age appropriate, on- campus STEM enrichment days that will include instruction and/or information sessions at the UMass Department of Computer Science; Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA); School of Public Health and Health Sciences Department of Kinesiology; College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Pre Med and Pre Dental Program; Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Pioneer Valley Life Sciences InStitute (a partnership between UMass and Bay State Medical Center); and the Pioneer Valley Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP). The YSEP offers an exceedingly strong Science, Technology, Engineering and Math focus and will complement the curriculum of the New Leadership Charter School, where Springfield Urban League is the lead partner. In addition, American International College and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will provide staff from their Science, Math, Engineering and Technology departments as well as access to their laboratories and related equipment.

Students will participate in science fairs that will coincide with those held annually at New Leadership. The science fairs will be open to the public so that the students have an opportunity to demonstrate their acquired skills, and share their interests and goals. SYEP participants will demonstrate to the NLCS school population and the community at large the value and effectiveness of SUL youth intervention and enrichment programs in encouraging and enabling positive behaviors, high skill achievement and educational enthusiasm. Participation at the Urban League’s Leadership summit will reinforce the positive strides made by YSEP students.

The program works to increase students’ self-esteem, demonstrate to students their individual and group competencies, and builds tangible community engagement, social, public discourse, and research and demonstration skills that will help ensure future success. Students will graduate the program prepared for 21st Century higher education and STEM related careers.


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Springfield Technical Community College

STCC staff recently gave a tour of the Data Center to Springfield-area high school students participating in the Urban League of Springfield's The Big Three STEM Pipeline Initiative.
STCC staff recently gave a tour of the Data Center to Springfield-area high school students participating in the Urban League of Springfield's The Big Three STEM Pipeline Initiative.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – For three days each week this summer and throughout the 2017-2018 academic school year, 20 Springfield area high school students are stepping onto the campus of Springfield Technical Community College and getting a taste of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The students recently toured the STCC Data Center where the college’s servers are housed. They participated in workshops with Brian Candido, professor and chair of STCC’s Computer Information Technologies program, and learned about cyber security. They took part in activities around password hacking, various types of computer viruses and protecting personal identification information.

“I enjoy learning about the different topics we’re going to be doing each week,” said Sophia Abril, 16, of Springfield, one of the students participating in the Urban League of Springfield’s program, which is called The Big Three STEM Pipeline Initiative.

The Urban League is working with HSI STEM at STCC, the University of Massachusetts, The Springfield School Department, Smith College, Bay Path University, Becker College, Baystate Medical Center, the MassMutual Financial Group and more on the initiative. The students participating in this program come from schools in both the Springfield, Mass., and Northern Connecticut areas.

I enjoy learning about the different topics we’re going to be doing each week.Sophia Abril, a 16-year-old Student from Springfield

As a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), STCC last year received a federal grant to support Hispanic and low-income students in STEM fields of study. The Big Three STEM Pipeline Initiative received grants from both the MassMutual Financial Group and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America to fund its program.

The Urban League’s Big Three STEM Pipeline program focuses on raising awareness about STEM academic programs and career paths in computer game science, cyber security and health (the Big Three STEM).

“All three of these areas are fast-paced and growing fields that current high school students will be entering upon graduation from college in the upcoming years, so why not begin to start preparing them now?” said Dinah Moore, project director for the Big 3 STEM Pipeline Initiative.

Dr. Felicia D. Griffin-Fennell, HSI STEM activity director, praised the program as a fun and interesting way to expose young people to the STEM fields and careers connected to the subjects.

For example, she said the high schoolers will learn about programs such as laser electro-optics technology and biotechnology with STCC faculty and students. They may never have heard about these programs, but might discover these majors could provide them with skills to land good jobs.

“It’s an opportunity for us to expand their understanding and to break a few myths that they might have,” she said. “We hope to get them thinking about possible avenues that they might never consider.”

Free of charge to the students, the program is held three days each week through Aug. 16 at STCC, but will continue to run during the 2017-2018 academic school year by offering tutoring, additional field trips and workshop activities in the three targeted STEM fields.

Examples of summer field trips and activities have included patient care workshops where the students took turns working with patient simulators and using stethoscopes and various other pieces of UMass equipment and technology, tours of the ambulances at American Medical Response, CPR workshops, password hacking activities and game board creations to learn the thought process behind computer game animation and design.

Moore said the program not only exposes students to the STEM fields, but helps them start preparing for college and careers.

“They will hear about financial aid options for college and take part in mock job interview sessions,” she said.

One element of the program is to help the students understand the importance of “soft skills” – working with others, doing presentations, and learning how to effectively communicate.

While not every student may pursue a STEM career, Moore said, “The goal of the program is to offer them the hands-on and application-based experience and exposure to help them make an informed decision when that time comes.”

The Urban League of Springfield has been sending high school students to STCC during the school year since 2014. This year marks the first summer program.

About Springfield Technical Community College

Founded in 1967 and located on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, STCC is a major resource for the economic vitality of Western Massachusetts. As the only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC, an Achieving the Dream Leader College, offers a variety of career programs unequalled in the state. STCC’s highly regarded transfer programs in business, engineering, liberal arts, science and technology continue to provide the most economical options for students pursuing a four-year degree. With an annual enrollment of more than 8,500 day, evening, weekend and online students, STCC is a vibrant campus rich in diversity.

For more information about STCC, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@S_T_C_C).

Media Contact:

Jim Danko,, (413) 755-4812

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UMass Amherst IT

During July and August 2017, UMass Amherst IT partnered with the Urban League of Springfield, Inc., to offer programming for high school students focusing on opportunities in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Students had the opportunity to experience a broad range of academic activities in their four days on the Amherst campus and two days at the UMass Center at Springfield. The programming highlighted cybersecurity, nursing simulation mannequins, assistive technologies, 3D printing, physics, virtual reality, sound recording, artificial intelligence, and animation.

Hands-on activities took place in many classroom locations across campus and in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library. The experiential component of the program enabled participants to get a glimpse of student life at UMass Amherst and eat at our award-winning dining commons.

Feedback was positive as students reported high engagement and interest in the material presented. Comments included; “I liked being able to try some of the technology that is used to help people with disabilities,” “My favorite part was observing ice cream being made with liquid nitrogen,” and “The variety of careers we were introduced to at UMass was really interesting.”

Community engagement and outreach is essential to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s mission to improve the quality of life for people of the “Commonwealth, nation, and the world.” The UMass Amherst IT Strategic plan highlights the powerful potential that information and technology have to foster mutually beneficial relationships between on and off-campus communities.

This program is supported by the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Pipeline Fund that focuses on increasing student interest in STEM majors and careers, growing the number of STEM educators, and expanding STEM educational offerings. For more information, see:

The Urban League of Springfield, Inc., located in Springfield, MA, “serves the African American Community in Greater Springfield by advocating for and providing model services that enhance the academic and social development of young people and families, promoting economic self-sufficiency, and fostering racial inclusion and social justice.” The Urban League’s Big Three STEM Pipeline Initiative Program is funded by the MassMutual Foundation and the Beveridge Family Foundation. For more information, see:

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Health & Wellness


CONTACT:       Andrew Cade

(413) 739-7211 EX. 110


ALL IN Campaign launches in Springfield to inform, encourage, and identify the need for African Americans to consider the COVID-19 vaccine, in partnership with the National Urban League, NAN, NCBCP and the CDC

Springfield, MA – April 30, 2021, The Urban League of Springfield, Inc., with the support of the National Urban League, in participation with the 90 Urban League affiliate offices around the country has joined forces with the National Action Network, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and the United States Centers for Disease Control to promote the ALL !N campaign to inform communities of color about the coronavirus vaccine and encourage community members to make thoughtful consideration about taking the vaccine.

About 41% of Black-owned business shut down in the first month of the pandemic, according to researchers, and with only 60% of those remaining expected to survive, the campaign also will shed broader light on how vaccination can serve as a remedy and help Springfield, MA rebound from the devastating economic impact of the virus on communities of color. Additionally, as 30% of African Americans reveal that they do not want to be vaccinated, according to a poll commissioned by the National Urban League and The Alliance of National Psychological Associations for Racial and Ethnic Equity, the All !N campaign hopes to provide more insight to that 30%, including Springfield residents, to equip them with all of the information needed to make their best personal choice concerning the vaccine.

This significant initiative was created to remind African Americans that collective solutions have served our communities best in times past when we have sought substantial change. The ALL !N campaign is a call to action for community members to consider the vaccine, and the trusted source for accurate information.  As the National Urban League and its affiliate leaders are among the most trusted voices in Black communities around the US the ALL !N campaign will unify African Americans to stand up against misinformation surrounding the vaccine and its distribution process, and to reject the false notion of intentional harmful agents in the vaccine, or intentional inaccessibility of the vaccine for people of color.

“I believe it is imperative for the Black community to unite, as we have successfully in the past, to continue the fight against this pandemic, together. The ALL !N campaign speaks to the realization that the most rapid and significant changes occur in communities of color, when we take our individual responsibilities to create change, and align them collectively, to realize change,” said, Henry M. Thomas, III, President and CEO of the Urban League of Springfield, Inc., “We need to be ALL !N for this initiative for lasting, post-pandemic positive change  and to save lives.”

The campaign launched in cities across the country today and will run through the end of 2021. The campaign will include important updates, including spikes in COVID-19 cases and flu season awareness in the fall. For more information, please log on to our website:

The Urban League of Springfield, Inc., serves the African American Community in Greater Springfield by advocating for and providing model services that enhance the academic and social development of young people and families, promoting economic self-sufficiency, and fostering racial inclusion and social justice.

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The Walgreens Urban League Wellness Health Tour

Walgreens Wellness Bus
Walgreens Wellness Bus

The Walgreens and Urban League of Springfield, Inc., “Way to Well Health Tour” is designed, to provide free prevention and early detection health services to Springfield’s underserved communities. The Wellness Tour provides free tests, assessment, education and consulting services to populations of communities with the highest prevalence for leading diseases and uninsured and unemployed residents of Springfield and surrounding communities.

These free health tests include: total cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, body composition, skeletal muscle, resting metabolism, visceral fat, real body age and body weight.

The Wellness Tour also provides accessible, affordable resources for prevention and early detection of major chronic diseases, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

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Community Support & Advocacy

Food Program at the Dunbar

The Urban League of Springfield Monthly Food Distribution in partnership with the
Food Bank of Western MA.  The distribution is held each 4th Friday at the Dunbar Community Center’s Parking Lot.
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The Urban League of Springfield’s Community Focus Radio program is a weekly Radio program, which is hosted by the President/CEO, Henry M. Thomas, III and co-hosted by the Senior Vice President, Andrew Cade. The Program shares national, regional and local information, engage discussions on various topics that have local impact. The program host interviews community representatives and business leaders.

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The Brown Bag Program

The Urban League of Springfield, Inc., Brown Bag Program, is a collaborative initiative with the Western Mass. Food Bank.

The program provides over 360 bags each month to seniors 55 years of age or older with low to moderate incomes.  The Program provides nutritional food, which enables each senior and their family to acquire the vital nutrition they need to sustain a healthy quality of life.  Volunteers transport and distribute as many as 200 bags to various senior housing units.

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Economic and Workforce Development

Job Fairs

The Urban League of Springfield collaborate with partners for Job Fairs, which is normally at the Basketball Hall of Fame.  Job Fairs are held twice a year (May and December).  Our recent Job Fair produced over 1900 people who attended and met with Company representatives.  Approximately 165 people received jobs from the job fairs.

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Employment Opportunity Program

The Urban League of Springfield has a relationship with a number of regional and local companies who contact the League for candidates for employment opportunities that they have ranging from upper management to entry level positions.  Companies such as, Comcast, Walgreens, MGM, CVS, Big Y, MassMutual and others.
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The Urban League of Springfield Youth Scholarship

The Urban League of Springfield Youth Scholarship is provided to deserving students pursuing higher education. They must demonstrate successful academic performance and active community service.

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The Urban League African American Scholarship

The Urban League African American Scholarship fund is maintained at the community foundation. Over $26,000 is granted to students each year.

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