We’re proving what’s possible when you empower the next generation of leaders with the skills, networks, experiences, and confidence necessary to launch a strong career.

left: Fall 2020 fellow
Munir Isa
Audit Associate, Deloitte
right: spring 2021 fellow
Coleen Azurin
Talent Acquisition
A10 Networks, Inc.
Photos: Joe Mazza Photography
(San Francisco, CA)
spring 2022 fellow
Elaine Zumaya
Store Executive
Intern, Target
Photo: Joe Mazza Photography
(San Francisco, CA)

What does this report cover?

At Braven, we’re working to democratize access to the American promise and to economic freedom, empowering a generation of leaders who mirror the demographics of our country. This is more important than ever as Fellows continue to feel the impact of an uncertain labor market.

This report highlights Braven’s impact through the stories of our inspiring Fellows.

Are Braven Fellows getting quality opportunities that put them on the path to economic mobility and the American promise?
Is Braven supporting Fellows on the path to internships and college completion?

our work matters

Only 30% of 1.3 million low-income or first generation college students who enroll in college each year will graduate and secure a strong first job or enter graduate school.1

That’s nearly 1 million students every single year who are not on the path to greater economic mobility.

1 Statistics based on national sources, including National Center for Education Statistics, National Association of Colleges and Employers, and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Braven provided me a framework
for which I could be proactive in my
personal and professional  growth.”

— Kiera Williams
Fall 2021 fellow
Claude Siambe
Performance Marketing
Analyst, Biz2Credit
Photo: Joshua Christie
Purpose Portraits
Coleen Azurin
Talent Acquisition Coordinator,
A10 Networks, Inc.
Photo: Joe Mazza | Brave Lux Inc.


Braven empowers promising underrepresented college students with the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks necessary to transition from college to strong economic opportunities, which lead to meaningful careers and lives of impact.


The next generation of leaders
will emerge from everywhere.


Braven empowers promising underrepresented college students on their paths to quality economic opportunities through a semester-long, cohort-based course and a lighter-touch post-course experience that lasts through college graduation.

In our classic higher education model, students take the course for college credit either in-person or virtually. Students who come through our innovation programming via college success organizations receive a financial stipend in lieu of credit.


Are Braven
Fellows getting
quality economic

that put them on
the path to the
American promise?

A tougher path to
the American promise
for young college graduates

Young workers are faring worse in the recent job market
2 Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s research: The Labor Market for Recent College Graduates. Updated November 4, 2022.
Confidence in Attaining the American Dream Declines3

of adults believe it is unlikely that today’s youth will have a better standard of living than their parents

of adults think it is hard for Black Americans and immigrants to improve their standard of living

3 University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy & The Associated Press-NORC Center
for Public Affairs Research Issue Brief: Many adults are pessimistic about improving their standard of living.

Mixed Signals:
The Uncertainty
in the Job Market


jobs added in December 2022, despite other indicators of recession5

Despite high-profile layoffs by technology companies, the U.S. labor market still looks strong.


fewer young workers (ages 20-24) in the workforce compared to pre-pandemic levels

While some young people are enrolling in higher education at higher rates, others may not be in the workforce due to caretaking duties, mental health issues, and other reasons.8

chance of a recession
by late 2023 or early 20244

of businesses plan to
implement a hiring freeze
in an economic downturn6

Employers may rely less on layoffs during a recession after experiencing labor shortages in 2021 and 2022.7

4 Harriet Torry and Anthony DeBarros. “Economists Now Expect a Recession, Job Losses by Next Year.” Wall Street Journal, 16 October 2022.
5 “December Jobs Report: U.S. Hiring Slows but Remains Solid in December.” New York Times, January 6, 2023.
6 James Spiro. “Report: 85% of American businesses will implement a ‘hiring freeze’ amid ongoing economic downturn.” CTECH, 22 August 2022.
7 Jeanna Smialek and Sydney Ember. “Companies Hoarding Workers Could Be Good News for the Economy.” New York Times, October 12, 2022.
8 Bryan Mena. “Labor Market Mystery: Where Are the Older Gen Z Workers?” Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2022.
“It makes me nervous to enter the job market with so many layoffs happening. We’re now competing with those with more professional experience. But, because I’ve taken a class like Braven, I feel prepared to use the skills and support I’ve gained to find a quality role even in this job market.”
Angelica Johnson
Marketing & Recruitment Intern
for Braven
Coming from a first-gen background, we work to survive. Now I tell my mom that we don’t have to work to survive anymore; we can work to thrive. Braven has given me the confidence to say that and believe that I’m going to be able to make a change and achieve my career goals.
Amy Estrada Magana
Recruitment Intern
at Braven

The Bachelor’s Degree:
Still the Surest Path
to Economic Mobility9

Lifetime Earnings by Education Level
A Bachelor’s Degree Lowers the Poverty Rate

The poverty rate is 3.5x lower for bachelor’s degree holders versus those with only a high school diploma.10

9 Carnevale, Anthony et al. The College Payoff: More Education Doesn’t Always Mean More Earnings, 2021.
10 Trostel, Philip. “It’s Not Just the Money: The Benefits of College Education to Individuals and to Society.” Lumina Foundation, 2015.

strong opportunity attainment

In 2022, 254 Braven SJSU Fellows graduated from college.11 This new class is outpacing their peers nationally in strong economic opportunity attainment by 17 percentage points (64% vs 47%) within six months of graduation.12

six months after graduation
Braven class of 2022 Demographics
11 We have jobs data for 81% of FY22 graduates from our core model higher education partners: Lehman College, San José State University, and Rutgers University-Newark.
12 National benchmark estimates are based on NACE’s 2021 First Destination Survey (publicly available and custom cut data) and underemployment research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Fall 2020 fellow
Munir Isa
Audit Associate,
Photo: Joe Mazza Photography
(San Francisco, CA)
spring 2018 fellow
Kiera Williams
Hollywood Career
Launch Program,
Moving Pictures Institute
Photo: Kat Goduco

the strength of roles
braven 2022 graduates secured

In 2022, 603 Braven Fellows graduated from college. These are the types of opportunities they landed. 81% of graduates secured quality or pathway roles, and 86% are employed or enrolled in graduate school.

How we define quality economic opportunities

Quality role: a full-time role that requires a bachelor’s degree and includes some combination of promotion pathways, employee benefits, and a market-competitive starting salary, or enrollment in graduate school

Pathway role: a role that does not require a bachelor’s degree but helps students’ financial sustainability, is aligned with career interests, and will likely lead to more career-accelerating possibilities through skill development

Non-quality role: a role that does not require a bachelor’s degree, offers limited runway to additional career-accelerating opportunities, and is not aligned with students’ career interests

The American
Promise in Action

When students are given access to information capital and networks, as well as the opportunity to practice professional skills, the American promise is attainable within semesters.

75% of Braven graduates make more in their first job out of college than either of their parents did at the same age.13

By comparison, by age 30, Americans have a 50-50 shot of outearning their parents.14

13 Inclusive of Braven graduates who responded to our annual surveys from 2020-2022
14 Chetty, Raj et al. The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940. Science, December 2016.
spring 2021 fellow
Cynthia Criollo
Loan Servicing Analyst,
Photo: Joshua Christie
Purpose Portraits

Building Career Wealth and Health

A high quality first job helps individuals build long-term wealth and health. Braven defines a strong first job as one that requires a bachelor’s degree and is full-time, as well as includes some combination of promotion pathways, employee benefits, and a market-competitive starting salary.

This is compared to
an overall starting salary for 2021 graduates from 4-year schools of $41,500.16

of recent Braven graduates nationwide are in roles aligned with their long-term career interests15

of recent Braven graduates nationwide have a job with employer provided benefits15

15 Inclusive of Braven graduates who responded to our annual surveys from 2020-2022
16 This is the mean salary calculated by NACE after adjusting for the probability of a graduate having a full-time job.

I’ve gained invaluable tools
through leadership development
programs like Braven,
and these have uncovered
a path to more opportunity.”

— Abicar Gonzalez
Fall 2021 fellow
Abicar Gonzalez
FirstNet Regional
Manager, AT&T
Photo: Joshua Christie
Purpose Portraits

The Braven
Equation in Action

With Braven’s help, Hunter Cordova built the foundation
for his path to the American promise.

Braven helped me to land
a strong first job.”

— Hunter Cordova
Spring 2021 fellow
Hunter Cordova
Incoming 2023
Audit & Assurance -
ESG Consultant, Deloitte
Photo: Joe Mazza Photography
(San Francisco, CA)


Is Braven
to secure

Nationally, internship
attainment has returned
to pre-pandemic levels

17 Source: Data from the NACE 2021-22 student survey for 4-year schools. Data were collected from February 22, 2022, through May 15, 2022.
A total of 2,140 seniors from 132 institutions completed the survey. Similar experiences include co-ops, externships, and apprenticeships.
“Internships are so important to be career ready. Last year, I interned at Upkey. For six weeks, we were a part of workshops where we learned about business, entrepreneurship, and various tips on how to prepare for the professional world.”
Leah Delgado
Intern, Upkey
spring 2021 fellow
Florance Thomas
Aeronautics Strategy and
Business Development Intern,
Lockheed Martin
Photo: Joe Mazza Photography
(San Francisco, CA)

Encouraging Levels
of Internship Attainment
for Braven Fellows

For college students, internships serve as critical proof points of experience that open professional doors.

Compared with graduates nationally, Braven SJSU 2022 graduates were 8 percentage points more likely to have at least one internship or similar career-accelerating experience during college.


Is Braven
Fellows on
the path
to college

College enrollment
and persistence continue
to decline nationwide

Since the start of the pandemic, bachelor’s degree enrollment at public four-year institutions has declined by 3%.

Enrollment of bachelor’s degree seekers declines at public four-year institutions18
18 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center: Current Term Enrollment Estimates. May 26, 2022. Changes in enrollment are compared to the previous year.

However, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were among the few to enroll more students this fall.

Undergraduate enrollment Increases at HBCUs19

Given the importance of the bachelor’s degree, it is discouraging to see college persistence has declined for the second starting cohort in a row. The fall 2020 starting cohort’s persistence rate was the lowest of the past ten cohorts.20

College persistence at four-year public colleges and universities
19 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center: First Look Fall 2022 Enrollment. October 20, 2022.
20 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center: Persistence and Retention Fall 2020 Beginning Postsecondary Student Cohort, June 28, 2022.

Encouraging Levels
of Persistence
and Graduation

Nationally, only about 7 in 10 of Braven Fellows’ peers graduate college on time. Fellows, who typically join us during their sophomore or junior year, are persisting and graduating at encouraging rates.21

Braven SJSU Fellows achieved a 90% six-year on-time graduation rate.

21 Implied 6-year graduation rate for Black and Latinx students who persisted from freshman to sophomore year at four-year public institutions. Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2021 release of Tables 326.10, 326.30, and 306.50.
spring 2020 fellow
Daikira Brown-Turner
Associate, Investment Solutions,
Video and Audio
Photo: Joe Mazza | Brave Lux Inc.

We couldn’t do it
without you!

Higher Education & Employer Partners

San José State University



($250K+ and programmatic support)
Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women
NBA Foundation

($100K+ and programmatic support)

($25K+ and programmatic support)
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance
Western Digital

($5K+ & programmatic support)

(<$5K and/or programmatic support)
Denali Therapeutics
Hall Capital Partners
Johnson & Johnson

Supporters ($10K+)

Arrow Impact
College Futures Foundation
Deloitte Foundation
Franklin and Catherine Johnson Foundation
Give Forward Foundation
Grace & Steve Voorhis
Greenbridge Family Foundation
Leslie Family Foundation
MR Macgill
Michelle Boyers
Peery Foundation
Sergey Brin Family Foundation
Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2)
Sobrato Family Foundation
Stupski Foundation
Tammy & Bill Crown
Tipping Point Community