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Place-Based Initiatives Pilot

What’s New

March 28

Employability Skills for Adult Learners with Jobs for the Future

The webinar “Educating for Work: Building Employability Skills for Adult Learners” provided an overview of 21st century skills and strategies for effectively building employability skills for adult learners.

March 22

The U.S. Department of Education released its first-ever Data-Sharing Tool Kit for Communities, providing schools and partner organizations with tools for responsible data-sharing to boost student achievement while respecting privacy. Sparked by community partners’ feedback generated by the ED Place-Based Initiative Pilot Team’s efforts, the tool kit dispels myths about FERPA and illustrates how communities can use data to improve academic and life outcomes.

March 21

Adult Literacy with Jobs for the Future

February 16

Chronic Absenteeism

The webinar “New Opportunities to Support Student Attendance and Health” offered tools to improve life outcomes for children and families, linking the important issues of student health and attendance. To access the webinar recording, please see the link here.

Our History

Place matters. Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty multiply the odds against children and limit their potential for a more promising future. Under the leadership of the Obama Administration, the federal government has focused on the significance of place: how a community supports the lives of the people who live there, how overlapping investments in a particular place can be coordinated and better aligned to increase impact, and how an understanding of community context improves the efficacy of service delivery.

Leveraging a successful track record of community organizing and working with local leaders to give high-need communities the resources to provide opportunities for all children, youth, and families, President Obama directed the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council, and the Office of Urban Affairs in 2010 to conduct a comprehensive review of federal programs affecting places, the first of its kind in 30 years.

Agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”), under the leadership of Secretary Arne Duncan, were charged to orient programs and initiatives around a community-centric contexts. ED adopted a “place-based” approach in a few of its signature programs and initiatives, including its Promise Neighborhoods program. This approach recognizes that the federal government can better support strategies to achieve improved outcomes for students and families by taking into account where investments are made and how those investments interact with out-of-school conditions for learning.

Early lessons from Promise Neighborhoods and those of other Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives like Choice Neighborhoods, Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation, and Community Health Centers gave birth to complementary place-based initiatives that focused on building capacity in neighborhoods and cities before seeding highly integrated initiatives and programs like Promise Zones, My Brother’s Keeper, and Performance Partnership Pilots. Throughout this evolution, ED has maintained the premise that schools should be central to place-based initiatives because the full community is needed to affect both in-school and out-of-school causes of low achievement.

In 2012, ED released “Impact in Place: A Progress Report on the Department of Education’s Place-Based Strategy” to report on these efforts. It speaks to ED’s early efforts to explicitly use “place” as a mechanism for combating the causes of low student achievement.

Our Mission

Federal place-based initiatives are defined as those that provide funding, flexibility, technical assistance or other support to help selected communities (or regions) align their efforts across multiple governmental programs, organizations and departments to serve communities in a more effective and efficient manner.

Launched in the summer of 2015, the Place-Based Initiatives (PBI) Pilot Team reaches across ED and other Federal agencies to better support communities. Housed in the Office of Innovation and Improvement’s Parental Options and Improvement Division, the PBI Team will work closely with communities through ED’s place-based portfolio to increase opportunities that improve academic and life outcomes, further accelerating, aligning and advancing cradle-to-career success.

Providing opportunities for all children while elevating some of the most systematically disadvantaged communities across this country, this initiative will strengthen schools and communities, offering immediate support for community priorities and long-lasting support for its citizens. This comprehensive, coordinated effort at the federal level will partner closely with communities mired in poverty, yet inspired by opportunity.

Our Work

ED integrates the “place-based” approach through a handful of programs, interagency initiatives, and partnerships:

With a portfolio of 40 (and growing) priority commitments to regions across the nation, ED’s PBI team offers tiered support to communities through a structure that includes senior career and political leadership and coordination; an interagency advisory committee; federal staff serving as relationship managers who connect with local communities and interagency programming; external experts; and technical assistance resources.