About Us

MISSION

Our mission is to empower young adults to realize their professional aspirations by supporting their successful degree attainment and career preparation.

VISION

To create a network of schools and community-based organizations that are committed to the long-term success of their high school graduates through a post-secondary path, whether through college or another educational pathway.  Through technology, holistic supports, external partnerships, and constant engagement, the UtmostU network works to propel young adults from low-income backgrounds toward their career goals.

Our History

UtmostU was founded in 2012 on the Comer Education Campus, located on Chicago’s southside, to support young adults on their dream to attend and graduate college. For the first seven year, UtmostU existed as a program within the Comer Education Campus that matched coaches with graduating seniors, along with a host of wrap-around services.  As the program formalized it became apparent that the supports were having a strong, positive impact on the college graduation rate of students. 

With a belief that other youth-serving organizations could benefit from the lessons-learned and a collaborative network dedicated to post-secondary success, UtmostU became an independent 501c3 organization in 2019.  Our commitment grew beyond college success to address all high school graduates with post-secondary plans whether through college or other career pathway programs.  By sharing a common data and technology platform, student enagement model, and broad external support partners, the UtmostU network brings resources and efficiencies to organizations that would be hard-pressed to develop and maintain on their own.  UtmostU principally provides technological and training support so organizations and their post-secondary coaches can impact more young adults with less time, less money, and less data management to guide young adults toward positive post-secondary outcomes.

In 2019 the UtmostU started with two affiliate partners – Comer Education Campus and Catalyst Maria High School – who supported 250 young adults to a current network of sixteen affiliates and over 800 Fellows served.

At its core, UtmostU is driven by four tenets:

Clear, structured post-secondary guidance for coaches
Our program is designed to help partners maximize their limited resources, both in their staffing, time, and budget to support post-secondary paths. UtmostU guides each partner with the right information at the right time.

A robust, centralized tech platform to monitor young adult progress
Our database and risk analysis rubrics help network partners extend the right interventions at the right time to keep young adults on track. We look to turn data into action.

An aggregator of resources and partnerships to support both coaches and Fellows
As a network, UtmostU leverages the size of the network to draw in resources to support both coaches and Fellow.

A learning community of peers
UtmostU is more than a tech and information platform. We aim to create a community of support where coaches and organization can lean into each other to impact young adult success at scale.

UtmostU fellows graduate from college at a rate 2-3 times the national average for their demographic and our students have graduated from almost 60 colleges and universities in 23 states coast-to-coast.

WHO WE SERVE

Fellows are 18-24 years olds college-bound students or career pathway young adults of whom 90% are Pell-eligible and 95% are students of color.

Young adults from the following high schools are enrolled in UtmostU: 

  • ACE Tech
  • Baker College Prep – Noble
  • Bronzeville
  • Catalyst Maria High School
  • CICS
  • CICS Ralph Ellison
  • Corliss
  • De La Salle
  • Epic Academy
  • Gage Park High School
  • Gary Comer College Prep – Noble
  • George Washington
  • Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep
  • Hansberry College Prep – Noble
  • Harper High School
  • Hirsch
  • Home Schooled
  • Hyde Park Academy
  • Innovations High School
  • Johnson College Prep – Noble
  • Kenwood Academy
  • King College Prep
  • Legal Prep Charter Academy
  • Lindblom
  • Morgan Park
  • Muchin College Prep – Noble
  • Oak Park and River Forest
  • Rickover Naval
  • Simeon
  • South Shore International
  • St. Francis De La Sales
  • UChicago – Woodlawn
  • Urban Prep Bronzeville
  • Urban Prep West
  • Walter Payton
  • Whitney Young