In fall 2017, colectivo Bay Area was enlisted to provide strategic communication services to The Atlantic Philanthropies to enhance its investment in Linked Learning—a partnership of Oakland Unified School District, Alameda Health System, and Alameda County Health Pathway Partnership—that gives students hands-on opportunities in health care.

We took the innovative, multimedia approach of using students’ own stories as a powerful tool to help grow and sustain Linked Learning.

colectivo spoke to Maryann Jacob Macias, director of Legacy Grant Monitoring at The Atlantic Philanthropies (TAP) about its investment in Linked Learning and why colectivo’s approach was a good fit.

colectivo: What appealed to TAP about an investment in Linked Learning?

Macias: We saw that too many young people, especially young people in underserved schools, were dropping out of high school or graduating unprepared for the kinds of jobs that would provide them with a bright future. At the same time, the healthcare sector is growing and needs qualified workers. Linked Learning made sense as a solution to both problems.

colectivo: Why was colectivo’s plan the best fit for enhancing Linked Learning’s reach?

Macias: Linked Learning has made remarkable progress in reaching students but we knew there were many more young people in Oakland who could benefit from this program. We’ve been incredibly inspired by the stories of students involved in Linked Learning—where they came from, their ambition to succeed, how Linked Learning opened their eyes to new possibilities for their future. We saw a chance, with colectivo’s help, to get those stories out in the community and encourage even more students to participate.

colectivo: Our approach was to help Linked Learning students tell their own stories. Why do you think these student’s voices can inspire others?

Macias: Young people listen to one another. Hearing and seeing Linked Learning’s students’ own stories, their portraits, and their successes helps them say That could be me, too. We’re confident that colectivo’s powerful Oakland Story Bank and other communication assets will help take our grantees to the next level.