Change is underway for CeCe Lacey who formerly served as a program specialist and is now turning her focus to alumni relations. This new position is focused on serving graduates of Birmingham City Schools who participated in Educate Local programs. Lacey’s transition comes as part of the Ed team’s desire to constantly give and receive feedback in order to best work with their stakeholders. “We always need to have an idea of the best direction for our work,” she explains. “Our mission is to increase the number of BCS students who graduate career, college, and life ready and we we want to know how many students actually do graduate career, college, and life ready.” By transitioning Lacey’s focus to these alumni, the hope is Ed can better serve students before and after they graduate.
The first step of Lacey’s work will be communicating with students who are in what she calls “year one of real world”–recent graduates starting out in college or full-time work. Nationally, it is rare to find organizations diligently tracking information on students after high school, so Ed hopes the work, called Graduate Local, will be helpful in understanding the needs of students. “We want to know where these students are ending up and how that compares to what they originally planned,” Lacey explains. She plans on surveying students quarterly as well as working on making herself known with alumni as a resource and supporter.
For students who do not matriculate into higher education, Lacey hopes her work will help Ed understand how the organization can continue to support them in their life after high school. “What I want to know is how can we best close any gaps from the time a student plans to go straight into career and the time they walk into their first day at work?” By communicating with students, Ed can work with them to overcome struggles and highlight successes. Further, by understanding the problems students run into post-grad, Ed can work to help colleges, universities, and employers better support young alumni.
When summarizing what her goals are for the new position, Lacey says that her job is simple. “I want alumni to teach us what we don’t know yet— that is what they do every day.” You can learn more about CeCe Lacey in her “Letter from Ed.” You can also keep up with her work this year by following Ed’s social channels at #GraduateLocal
This feature was written by Murphy Burke. Murphy is a recent Alabama transplant focused on helping local non-profits communicate with the public. She has a degree in Public Relations from Western Kentucky University and spends as much time as possible coaching high school and college students in competitive speech & debate.