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'Running Start for Careers' Recognized

Running Start for Careers as a Top 25 program in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition.

May 5, 2015

Albuquerque – The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized today Running Start for Careers as a Top 25 program in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition. These government initiatives represent the dedicated efforts of city, state, and federal governments, and address such policy issues as economic development, environmental and community revitalization, public health, equal access to education, emergency preparedness, and health care. These programs were selected by a cohort of policy experts, researchers, and practitioners.

View a full list of the Top 25 programs.

Running Start for Careers is a public-private educational pathway for high school students in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that has served nearly 500 students. Unlike traditional approaches to vocational training, Running Start is not bound by campus infrastructure or trades faculty, nor is it the domain of specialty schools or limited to specific industry types. Rather, Running Start gives students direct entry into industry-developed and taught training programs in fields with demonstrated demand, while earning college credit. High school students enroll in a semester-long, dual-credit career exploration class, held at industry sites, and can then enter work-and-learn positions the following term. The program addresses high dropout rates and the skills gap by supporting those students who are the most likely to quit school and forfeit job opportunities.

“These programs represent the forefront in government innovation, and a cross-section of issues of the twenty-first century, including renewable energy, community revitalization, and public-private partnerships,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government program at the Ash Center. “They demonstrate that efforts to make government work better can stem not only from executive orders and statewide initiatives, but also small community programs and private citizens on social media.”

“The Ash Center is proud to recognize these programs and hopes that they will become a vital part of our ongoing efforts to create a community of innovators,” said Tony Saich, director of the Ash Center. “Each Top 25 program can become a blueprint for similar enterprises at all levels of government, inspiring leaders around the country to help improve their communities with opportunities for dialogue and replication.”

The Innovations in American Government Awards was created by the Ford Foundation in 1985 in response to widespread pessimism and distrust in government’s effectiveness. Since its inception, over 500 government innovations across all jurisdiction levels have been recognized and have collectively received more than $22 million in grants to support dissemination efforts. Such models of good governance also inform research and academic study around key policy areas both at Harvard Kennedy School and academic institutions worldwide. Past winners have served as the basis of case studies taught in more than 450 Harvard courses and over 2,250 courses worldwide.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Harsha

Associate Director for Communications, Ash Center

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit