DEC 18 2014
Philly Mayor’s Office of Education Launches Connect2College with Textizen
The mission of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Education PhillyGoes2College initiative sounds simple enough: increase college attendance by ensuring all college-seeking Philadelphians have access to the information they need. However, finding communication methods that reach youth is a serious challenge for many organizations.
For their new outreach initiative, the Mayor’s Office was determined to construct a system that would truly engage their audience. The program, called Connect2College is a set of 3 coordinated services designed to reach youth wherever they are, and help Philly-area students in their college search and application process.
“We believe these three coordinated interventions — labs, an online tool and a texting app, offer unprecedented and holistic services, which will encourage more Philadelphia residents to attend and complete college.”
— Leana Cabral, Director, PhillyGoes2College
A key component of the program is the Connect2College interactive text message service, powered by Textizen. Using the service is simple: students text in anytime and answer a series of questions about their college-related needs. Through the course of the conversation, students are automatically directed to relevant resources, such as loan information or steps to getting a GED.
Reaching Youth Where They Are
By adding text engagement to their communication strategy, the Mayor’s Office will expand their reach to those who might not participate otherwise. People without the time or initial interest to commit to an in-person lab can still use the text-in service, which offers an easy and immediate way to engage.
“Connect2College allows Philadelphians to access college information where they are — whether it’s at Connect2College labs, online, or by text message on their mobile phone, Connect2College makes college accessible anytime, anywhere.” — Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
At the end of the text survey, responders can opt to receive periodic messages with college information, and notices of upcoming Connect2College labs. Those who want more in-depth guidance are encouraged to attend and talk face-to-face with a PhillyGoes2College team member.
Collecting Data, Improving Future Efforts
The text-in system will help the City achieve another important goal: learning more about the needs of Philadelphians, to better provide services and support. From the responses, the Mayor’s Office will gain valuable anonymous insights on their target audience. For instance, the Office of Education will know the ages and demographics of their respondents, and how many have not completed high school. This will enable them to better plan and allocate resources for future efforts.
In January, the Mayor’s Office will begin promoting the text-in service with offline materials, such as public posters and bookmarks distributed at libraries. As more students use the service, the PhillyGoes2College team will reach out to segments of respondents to offer targeted, continuous guidance, and build out additional resources to support those who need it most. The Mayor’s Office hopes that by making information and assistance available wherever the youth are, more Philadelphians will be able to apply and enroll in college.
With the addition of text-enabled engagement, the Mayor’s Office of Education has added a new dimension to their communication strategy for reaching youth. At Textizen, we are excited to be a part of this effort, and we look forward to its growth in the coming months.