Urban Alliance

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help address educational disparities. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Strives to change the trajectories of at-risk youth, providing a year of programming that includes work readiness training, a paid internship, and mentoring
  • Generally targets "middle-of-the road" high school seniors with a GPA between 2.0 and 3.0
  • Offers ongoing support after school graduation, including coaching, alumni events, and additional internship opportunities

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)


Strong (second-highest tier)

Urban Alliance is not in any of the major clearinghouses, but demonstrated positive results in a randomized controlled trial completed by the Urban Institute in 2017

Target population

High school-aged children

Program cost

Approximately $15,000 per participant

Implementation locations

Dates active


Outcomes and impact

  • Increased probability of graduating from high school and attending college by 12 percentage points for males
  • Increased probability of attending 4-year college by 9 percentage points two years after high school graduation for students with middle-range GPAs

Keys to successful implementation

  • The scale of the program is most limited by the number of internships local employers are willing to support. Having a few large employers serve as vocal champions of the program can encourage other businesses across the region to bring on interns of their own.
  • Public and civic sector champions are critical conveners for the sorts of partnerships Urban Alliance relies on. Mayors, County Executives, and legislators can help bring school leadership, local non-profits, and local employers to the table and enable greater success for the program.
  • Support from school leadership is critical for recruiting students, managing the logistics of getting students to their internships, and bringing work readiness programming to non-seniors.
  • Meticulous data collection and a commitment to independent evaluation have helped the program attract significant funding from the public sector and philanthropy.

Urban Alliance - Washington D.C. Metro

Urban Alliance - Washington D.C. Metro

Urban Alliance: Improving workforce readiness and preventing youth disconnection across the Washington, D.C. region

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