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NORC works to address barriers in the “cradle to career” continuum.

The pathway from cradle to career is underpinned with structural barriers for many Americans, leaving them mired in inter-generational poverty. Each leg of that journey presents unique challenges. NORC’s research informs a variety of efforts meant to address those challenges and ensure that everyone can reach their full socio-economic potential.

Brilliant Baby is the developmentally earliest component of Oakland Promise’s broader “cradle-to-career” approach, which provides children with the skills, resources, and aspirations they need to graduate from high school, complete college, and be successful in a career of their choice. NORC is evaluating whether Brilliant Baby improves parent attitudes and behaviors as well as key child development outcomes early in life. Our evaluation uses a randomized controlled trial design to evaluate the impacts of college savings accounts coupled with financial coaching and community building to strengthen economic well-being of families and the early development of children using a variety of measures. It was also designed to follow children over time across the full “cradle to career” continuum—through college completion.

NORC is also evaluating Oakland Promise’s Kindergarten to College (K2C) initiative, which instills a college-bound mindset in elementary school students and their families, and its college access and completion components. The K2C initiative provides Oakland Unified School District kindergarten students with an early college scholarship and supports parents to set up a 529 CSA for their child, with initial seed money. It also provides a K2C curriculum to promote a strong college-going culture in classrooms and throughout the elementary school.

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Cradle to Career Experts

Highlighted Projects

Evaluating Oakland Promise’s Cradle-to-Career Programs

NORC’s assessments enable Oakland program to identify past benefits for future funding


Oakland Promise

National Assessment of Educational Progress

Assessing whether the NAEP, used to gauge learning progress, can also measure college readiness


National Assessment Governing Board

Oakland Promise Kindergarten to College Evaluation

Assessing efforts to promote a college-going culture among young students and their parents


Oakland Promise