Earlier this year, Dallas-based Paul Quinn College had some big news: It would be expanding its Urban Work College Model for the first time ever with a new location in Plano. This week, that announcement is came to fruition, as PQC-Plano was awarded its first major investment in the form of a $1 million grant from Indianapolis-based Strada Education Network.
Over the next two years, Strada’s grant will go toward establishing the new expansion site, blazing a trail for what Paul Quinn hopes to be a nationwide network of campuses with this same concept.
A private, faith-based four-year liberal arts-inspired college, Paul Quinn is the first urban work college in the U.S. The innovative PQC model is designed to eradicate poverty by combining affordable higher education with quality paid work experiences, year-round housing, and reduced loan debt. This equips students with skills actually applicable to today’s job market, and in turn, gives them greater access to post-grad opportunities.
“We are honored that Strada Education Network shares our commitment to building tomorrow’s workforce and providing pathways out of poverty for hard-working students.”
Since implementation, Paul Quinn has reduced tuition and fees by nearly $10,000 — lowering the average debt of graduates by over $30,000.
Paul Quinn is able to do so by decreasing overhead costs traditionally associated with campus infrastructure. PQC-Plano, specifically, will place students in alternative housing and leverage space donated by its partners for classes and internships. All foundational corporate partners — NTT Data Services, Liberty Mutual, Ampex Brands, FedEx Office, J.C. Penney, JPMorgan Chase, McDonald’s, Aimbridge Hospitality — already committed to providing internships to Paul Quinn students.
Back in July, when the expansion was announced, Paul Quinn President Michael Sorrell told me at a press conference that the model represents the new direction of higher education in the United States. Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere agreed, saying that PQC’s arrival to Plano is going to transform the lives of our youth, helping the ‘City of Excellence’ stay ahead of the curve.
“Mayor LaRosiliere, the city of Plano, and Paul Quinn College all speak the same language,” President Sorrell said. “That language is the language of vision, of hope, of possibilities, and of our next always being better than our now.”
With a philanthropic strategy aimed at piloting and scaling collaborative solutions, Strada is an ideal inaugural investor for the project. The national nonprofit — with a mission of “Completion With a Purpose” — says it is dedicated to improving the pathway from education-to-employment for all students.
“We are honored that Strada Education Network shares our commitment to building tomorrow’s workforce and providing pathways out of poverty for hard-working students,” President Sorrell said in a statement. “Their willingness to invest in our model once again proves that they are visionaries.”
President Sorrell was recently named one of Fortune magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.
Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.