New Steppingstone Scholars Partnership with Wharton Global Youth Creates Critical Access to University Courses for Socio-Economically Under-served Students


PHILADELPHIA, December 6, 2021—Springboard researchers (Steppingstone) today announced a new partnership with the Wharton Global Youth Program that will provide socio-economically disadvantaged students in Philadelphia with a path to higher and business education.

The partnership initially focuses on three specific areas:

  1. Dual registration courses: High school students will register for free college courses in Wharton. Students will be introduced to business training while earning college credit, which will reduce the time and cost required to complete a college degree.
  2. Integrated courses: Wharton Global Youth will work with Steppingstone to identify one or more schools in Philadelphia to incorporate a Wharton School pre-baccalaureate course into the curriculum for a class of students.
  3. Wharton Community Engagement: Opportunities will be created for Wharton undergraduates in assistant, fellowship, volunteer and co-op positions with Steppingstone. Wharton’s undergraduate division will help connect Steppingstone Fellows with college internships and placement opportunities. In addition, Wharton faculty will provide expertise, research and advice in creating a curriculum for Steppingstone programming.

Starting in the spring semester 2022, students at Lankenau Environmental Science Magnet High School (Lankenau) will participate in the Steppingstone Dual Enrollment Program Pilot Project with Wharton. Lankenau students will be transported to the Penn campus after school for a weekly class titled “Energy Education in Philadelphia Schools”. This teaching-based community service (ABCS) course is supported by Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships and will teach students the basic residential energy efficiency metrics and practices of an established community energy organization, Philadelphia Energy Coordinating Agency. By identifying and understanding the fundamental energy concepts of STEM, Steppingstone students will later develop a short curriculum and lesson plan on ‘energy efficiency’ to teach three sessions in a science class at the district middle or high school. Philadelphia School.

After launching the program starting with Lankenau, Steppingstone and Wharton Global Youth hope to expand the program and course offerings with the goal of reaching students at 25 high schools in the city of Philadelphia. Later, Steppingstone and Wharton Global Youth will work to identify and integrate courses into secondary school course offerings in order to reach students within their regular school schedules. In all of its programs, Steppingstone will welcome Wharton students as they volunteer, mentor and work with academics throughout their college journey and career.

“This unique dual enrollment program removes many of the barriers that prevent high school students from participating in pre-baccalaureate studies and extends the reach of a Wharton education across socio-economic divisions.” – Erika James, Dean of the Wharton School

“Our partnership with Wharton demonstrates a shared commitment to breaking down the systemic racial and economic barriers to college graduation that too many Philadelphia students face,” said Sean E. Vereen, EdD, president of Steppingstone Scholars . “Less than fifteen percent of students in the Philadelphia School District graduate from college six years after graduating from high school, which is at the heart of the problem of generational poverty in our city. Families and students often don’t see a path to college, mostly due to the cost. This partnership allows us to create a viable new path for Philadelphia students to pursue academic and business studies with one of the most respected business programs in the country.

“This unique dual enrollment program removes many of the barriers that prevent high school students from participating in pre-baccalaureate studies and extends the reach of a Wharton education across socio-economic divisions,” said Erika James, Dean of the Wharton School. “We have a huge responsibility to impact the pipeline of future business leaders so that it more accurately reflects the world around us. This partnership with Steppingstone will allow deserving students to explore business practices, analyze the most complex global challenges, and take action to become leaders capable of transforming the global economy.

Students interested in learning more about the Steppingstone / Wharton Global Youth partnership and / or applying for the Steppingstone Dual Enrollment Program are encouraged to contact Evy Fraga, Associate Director of College Pathways, at [email protected]

About the Steppingstone Fellows:

Steppingstone Scholars is a social mobility educational organization. For low-income students in the city of Philadelphia, there is no clear path specifically designed for them to go to college and enter the workforce. Since 1999, Steppingstone has worked to solve this systemic problem by creating not just one path, but several. Serving students aged 10-24, Steppingstone offers three (3) solution-oriented approaches: Academy, which provides transformative and rigorous learning opportunities for high achieving and educationally underserved students to access and succeed in resource-rich schools; Journey, which leverages personalized resources in K-12 public schools (neighborhood, charter, and city) to build bridges to the university and the workforce for underserved students and; Companies, which creates broad enrichment programs that innovate how schools, nonprofits and communities can more equitably serve engaged citizens ready to enter college and an evolving workforce . This multifaceted systems approach helps students identify, create and confidently navigate their way through institutions of higher education and work, well prepared to begin to break the cycles of disinvestment and socio-economic inequality that have existed in Philadelphia for generations. For more information on Steppingstone Fellows, please visit:

About Wharton School:

Founded in 1881 as the world’s first collegiate business school, the Wharton School University of Pennsylvania is shaping the future of business by incubating ideas, generating ideas and creating world-changing leaders. With a faculty of more than 235 renowned professors, Wharton has 5,000 first cycle, MBA, Executive MBA, and doctorate students. Each year, 13,000 professionals around the world advance their careers thanks to Wharton Executive Education individual, personalized and online programs. Over 100,000 Wharton alumni form a powerful global network of leaders who transform businesses every day. For more information visit


Comments are closed.