Urban Alliance Helps Students in DC Area

Urban Alliance, a group made up of representatives from Washington-area businesses, has an annual program where they prepare 150 D.C. public high school students for the professional world.

Each business pays $9,500 a year per student. Some of the money goes toward training workshops on issues in the business world; some goes to the student as pay for hours they have worked. Students typically work at the companies 15 hours a week during the school year and 40 hours a week during the summer.

More than 1,000 students have been involved in the program since it started 12 years ago. It has a 99 percent on-time high school graduation rate and the vast majority of students that participate go on to college.

The Urban Alliance was founded by Jeffrey and Mary Zients and Andrew Plepler, president of the Bank of America Foundation. For every program dollar the students save, up to $1,000, the Urban Alliance puts aside $3 to help defray college expenses.