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Perspective Feature: Pathways to Upward Mobility

Dear Friends of The Howley Foundation,

The goal of The Howley Foundation is to provide students with a high-quality education that can offer a strong pathway toward upward mobility. This path does not look the same for all students. I realize it is not the goal of all students to end up with a four-year college degree, and often there’s a better fit than pursuing a more “traditional” route.

With this in mind, we’re always on the lookout for new and innovative educational models—ones that can be accessed by incurring little or no debt, and that can lead to a broad range of high-demand and satisfying career opportunities.

Supporting workforce development. The Howley Foundation has become increasingly interested in programs that focus on readying students for a specific job type or employment track. Our initiative in developing and funding the ASPIRE Nurse Scholars Program that you’ll learn more about in this month’s Grantee Spotlight is the perfect example of supporting a program that offers high school students from underserved areas the opportunity to learn about a specific profession—nursing. In collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, ASPIRE students can pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Ursuline College and feed into the Clinic’s pipeline of healthcare professionals upon graduation.

The Howley Foundation also partners with Williamson College of the Trades, a private men’s vocational college near Philadelphia, whose mission is to prepare their students to be respected leaders and productive members of society. When we consider whether to support a particular program, we pay close attention to what the end game looks like. Students at Williamson College are able to earn a variety of three-year Associate degrees in specialized areas of technology (e.g., carpentry, masonry, and power plant technology), taking a shorter educational path at minimal cost. Williamson boasts an outstanding employment placement record and their core values complement those of The Howley Foundation: Faith, Integrity, Diligence, Excellence, and Service.

In all of our endeavors, we strive to clear pathways for disadvantaged students in order to create access to high-quality education and help students find the right fit for their individual lives.


Meg Howley
Executive Director
The Howley Foundation