Reflecting on Another Year of Good Work
As the holiday season is upon us and 2022 is coming to a close, it is an excellent time to reflect and express gratitude for the trust that clients have placed in our career readiness solutions and in what NS4ed has been able to do for students because of the company’s growth. NS4ed began in 2016 with Dr. Joseph L. Goins in Maryville, Tennessee. Dr. Goins, a former math and career technical education (CTE) teacher, started with early work tied to research, workforce, and educational policies. Today NS4ed has experienced tremendous growth and has brought together an accomplished team of personnel across the United States and Puerto Rico.
Dr. Goins’s work was (and is) driven by the aspiration to motivate students to persist with math. He recognized inequities associated with high-value careers (careers connected to high wages and related to economic need and high demand) and discrepancies of who was and was not following those career pathways. Many underprivileged youth do not persist with mathematics and therefore fall short of being able to pursue high-value careers, which often require college-level math.
Dr. Goins wanted to harness the promise that he saw career-connected learning programs provided. His early work delivered “NS4ed, LLC.,” or “Negotiated Services for Education,” and not long after, the company grew, offering technical assistance, education and workforce development coaching, the Pathway2Careers Math Curriculum, the Labor Market Navigator, professional development services, and today’s suite of career readiness solutions.
The work of NS4ed continues to expand and develop. Still, the NS4ed Team maintains its connection to NS4ed’s company history, founded upon the ideal of giving back and helping those less fortunate, especially youth. This year NS4ed provided four organizations with charitable contributions: The Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, Champs Missions, Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia, PA, and Junior Achievement of East Tennessee.
An established focus of NS4ed’s charitable work has been preventing food insecurity and hunger. It has been shown that student hunger is linked to lower academic performance. In fact, hungry learners suffer “from a host of problems: poor academic performance, inability to concentrate, lack of motivation, tiredness, behavioral problems, and feeling sick” (No Kid Hungry, Center for Best Practices). Moreover, the Center for Best Practices research confirms that “hungry students are more likely to score lower on standardized tests, repeat a grade, be suspended from school, get sick more often” (ibid).
In 2019-2020, NS4ed and Dr. Goins launched giving back to the local community by supporting the critical work of the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, an organization that aids those who are experiencing hunger across the 18-county service region. https://secondharvestetn.org/ Efforts began with encouraging and allowing NS4ed employees time off to volunteer at the food bank headquarters in Maryville, Tennessee. This work developed, as did the company’s impact, as researcher and PD coordinator Baleigh Goforth conducted studies on the 14 school pantries served across East TN. NS4ed believes in data-focused work, so it makes sense it collected comprehensive data from each school pantry and championed efforts to conduct meaningful research. The research illustrates regional issues of food insecurity and demonstrates the local need. This year, in addition to local employees volunteering monthly, and the School Pantry Program research efforts, on “Double Your Donation Day,” NS4ed contributed $75,000 to the cause of feeding families and preventing hunger across East Tennessee. NS4ed is dedicated to giving back.
NS4ed and Dr. Goins also supported important work conducted by Champs Missions. Last spring, Dr. Goins supported the construction of the Champs Medical Clinic in Haiti. Also, in 2022, NS4ed was the main financial contributor supporting a Haitian children’s educational center, and because of this support, “children have been provided two nutritious meals a day” throughout the year.
Additionally, NS4ed supported students in Pennsylvania. Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia is a stellar charter school. The school supports grades 6th through 12th, with an enrollment of 800 —325 middle-school students and 475 high-school students. Students apply to the school through a lottery system and attend for free. Some demographics that characterize the student population include Race/Ethnicity, African American 93%; Economically Disadvantaged 62%; and Students with Disabilities 26%. Most students who begin at Boys’ Latin are three to four grade levels behind; however, the program results speak for themselves as “86% of students are accepted to college,” and, as highlighted by the school, 76% of matriculated college students and Boys’ Latin graduates “persist through college.” Thus, NS4ed recognized the important results of such a school and is grateful to be able to provide financial support.
NS4ed is also proud to be associated with the Junior Achievement program of East Tennessee. As a 2022 Business Success Sponsor, we supported the organization’s long history of creating positive, enriching learning experiences that “connect education to real-world concepts to heighten students’ appreciation for academics and long-term aspirations,” a goal shared by NS4ed. As a sponsor, NS4ed supported regional programs, like Junior Achievement BizTown (a program that brings “Economics to Life!” for 5th graders across East TN) and JA Miss Business (a program designed to support young women perusing business and leadership).
As our work expands, NS4ed is committed to staying grounded in the company mission of “helping all students attain a successful future through career exploration” and through the vision set by the company’s leadership to “transform communities by closing the gap between education and industry.” According to Dr. Goins, “We try our best to do as much as we can and we will continue to pursue this important work in 2023.” NS4ed welcomes the new year and looks forward to continuing good work –professional and charitable.