New Impact Report Highlights SJSU Partnership With Nonprofit Braven

Braven Fellows participating in a Learning Lab opportunity before the COVID-19 pandemic.

San José State University is a proud partner of Braven, a national nonprofit that empowers underrepresented students with skills and confidence to transition from higher education to successful first jobs

Since becoming a founding university partner in 2014, SJSU has helped Braven implement innovative career education into the undergraduate experience for low-income and first-generation college students. Through these distinct partnerships with universities and employers, Braven has created a path to impact for emerging leaders as diverse as the future requires.

In addition to integrating cutting-edge career education into the undergraduate experience, Braven is able to provide students with a supportive network and a sense of belonging—which in a pandemic is more important than ever.

Among Braven’s employer partners are Adobe, Barclays, Deloitte, Google, LinkedIn, Prudential and Salesforce, who sponsor learning experiences and events for students and provide engagement opportunities with students to support their employees’ professional development. Many of SJSU’s alumni have also become leadership coaches in Braven’s Accelerator course.

Every year, Braven provides an impact report to capture the scope, breadth and depth of the SJSU Fellows’ accomplishments. This year, the report also includes how Braven, SJSU and employer partners helped students navigate the evolving professional landscape created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SJSU Braven Program Shows Promising Results

Braven, a career accelerator, launched a pilot program at San Jose State University in 2014 with 17 students. In its 2018-19 Impact Report released on July 23, Braven founder and CEO Aimee Eubanks Davis shared that the program has served 1,600 underrepresented college students to date at three universities. Early data is showing promising outcomes for participants.

“Given our initial promising results, we are projected to grow dramatically to serve 5,000 new Fellows over the next three years at our three current university partners,” wrote Aimee Eubanks Davis, founder and CEO, in an email announcing the release of the report.

Braven Fellows join a cohort of other students who enroll in a one-semester course in which they engage with coaches, followed up with one-on-one mentoring, networking opportunities and career fluency experiences. Through the program, students connect with a leadership coach from a tech firm or business who meets with them in person to discuss career development. SJSU has partnered with coaches from LinkedIn, Google, Facebook and Teach for America, among other employers.

“The most valuable part of the Braven experience is the organized tools that are given to help us succeed with our assignments and apply to the real world,” said Dylan Dutt,’18 Electrical Engineering and a 2016 Braven Fellow.

Dutt is working as a sales engineering for Johnson Controls.

The career accelerator program launched a pilot at San Jose State University in 2014, and expanded to two other universities since then, including National Louis University and Rutgers University-Newark. Of the 300 Braven Fellows who graduated in 2016-2018, 69 percent had landed a strong full-time job or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

This compares to the national average of 54 percent and 46 percent for black and Latinx students from public universities.

Other notable results include:

  • 48% of Bravengraduates are already out-earning their parents’ combined income from when they were growing up;
  • 48% of Bravengraduates have received a promotion since entering the workforce; and
  • 75% report that they are able to put away savings with their current income, which is a significant improvement over the national average: 41% of millennials (age 25-34) report having $0 saved in their savings account.

Braven will follow the career paths of the 370 Braven Fellows who graduated with the class of 2019. The program has plans to expand to serving 5,000 new fellows over the next three years.

“Braven helps you become a better you,” said Antoinette Martin, a 2016 Braven Fellow who plans to complete her bachelor’s in computer engineering in 2020. “In a matter of weeks, I gained the insight of Silicon Valley’s most successful leaders, obtained a solid foundation of my aspirations and made lifelong connections.”