Three Students Take Their Education to the Next Level in Roadtrip Nation’s New Documentary ‘One Step Closer’

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Debuting Online and on Public Television, ‘One Step Closer’ Features Leaders Whose Paths to Success Started With Community College

The recent recipient of American Public Television’s Programming Excellence Award for 2017, career exploration company Roadtrip Nation is excited to announce the premiere of its newest one-hour documentary special, “One Step Closer.” Presented by KQED, “One Step Closer” will air on public television stations nationally starting on April 6 and will be available to watch online at

Made possible with the support of ECMC Foundation, “One Step Closer” explores the critical role that community colleges play for students across the country, whether they are at the beginning of their educational journey or coming into college with various life and work experiences. Nearly half of all students who completed a degree at a four year institution in 2013-14 began their educational journey—or found supplemental help along the way—at a community college. Many students are looking for alternatives to the traditional four-year degree path due to financial considerations, the need to work full-time or support a family while attending school, or the need to learn new skills in order to advance their ongoing careers.

The film follows three of these students, Becca, Armand, and Melanie—each in a different stage of their journey through community college—as they travel 3,300 miles across the country in Roadtrip Nation’s green RV, in search of inspiration from leaders and professionals who built rewarding careers on the foundation of a community college education.

Along the way, the road-trippers explore themes like fighting through fear, leaving your comfort zone, and dealing with grief, all guided by the stories of the people they meet, and viewed through the lens of their shared community college experiences.

“For over 15 years, Roadtrip Nation’s founding philosophy has been to empower people to find fulfillment by defining their own roads in life,” said Mike Marriner, co-founder of Roadtrip Nation. “That’s why we were pleased to have ECMC Foundation’s support on this documentary, which highlights the road to and through a community college education, and shows how it can be a viable option to set you up for success in just about every field imaginable.”

Many of the leaders featured in the film chose to continue their education past community college—like Jim Lehrer, prominent journalist and former anchor of “PBS Newshour”—while others stepped straight out of community college and into the workplace—like Deesha Dyer, activist and former White House Social Secretary for the Obama administration. But no matter which road they took, it’s clear that for each of the interviewees, community college played a pivotal role in helping them build a life of purpose.

“All of us at ECMC Foundation recognize the far-reaching impact of how a postsecondary education can help students achieve their personal and professional goals,” said Peter J. Taylor, president of ECMC Foundation. “We were pleased to fuel this Roadtrip Nation film, which explores how a community college education can be the starting point to family-sustaining and fulfilling careers.”

Based in Los Angeles, ECMC Foundation supports programs and initiatives across the country that help students, typically from underrepresented backgrounds, pursue and graduate with postsecondary certificates or degrees.

To learn more about “One Step Closer,” watch the film online on April 6, or find air times for public television broadcasts near you, visit

You can also learn more about the film by following @RoadtripNation, @ECMCFoundation, and the hashtag #CommCollegeRoadtrip on Twitter.

About Roadtrip Nation
“What should I do with my life?” For over 15 years, Roadtrip Nation’s mission has been to help individuals answer this question. Through best-selling books, an acclaimed documentary series, and interactive classroom curricula, Roadtrip Nation empowers people to turn what they like into careers they’ll love—and helps them navigate any obstacles encountered along the way. For more information, visit and

About ECMC Foundation
ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding and investment structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting and ECMC Group by visiting

About KQED
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas. For more information, visit

About APT
American Public Television (APT) is the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations. For more than 10 years, APT has annually distributed one-third or more of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles in the U.S. Founded in 1961, among its 250 new program titles per year, APT programs include prominent documentaries, performance, news and current affairs programs, dramas, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies. “America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated,” “Cook’s Country,” “AfroPoP,” “Rick Steves’ Europe,” “Chris Kimball’s Milk Street Television,” “Front and Center,” “Doc Martin,” “Nightly Business Report,” “Midsomer Murders,” “A Place to Call Home,” “Lidia’s Kitchen,” “Globe Trekker,” “New Orleans Cooking with Kevin Belton,” “Simply Ming,” and “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home” are a sampling of APT’s programs, considered some of the most popular on public television APT licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. Entering its 13th year, Create®TV — featuring the best of public television's lifestyle programming — is distributed by American Public Television. APT also distributes WORLDTM, public television’s premier news, science and documentary channel. To find out more about APT’s programs and services, visit

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Kelsey Cox
Roadtrip Nation
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Laura Telander Graf
ECMC Foundation
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