The Embark program in Georgia is built upon the experiences and successes of other states. The first program of its kind was the Guardian Scholars program at Cal State Fullerton in 1998. This campus based program sought to identify specific supports for youth who lacked social supports but were enrolled at the institution. Similar campus based programs began to develop on other campuses in California and in other states. Later, campus based programs began to band together to share information and strategies for supporting students and developed statewide networks, such as Fostering Success Michigan and Ohio Reach. In 2014, with guidance and support from Casey Family Programs, a knowledge community within NASPA to connect programs and networks together across the country.
In Georgia, Embark was developed with support from the College Access Challenge Grant in 2012. The CACG was based in the University System of Georgia office; the focus of CACG was to increase college access for underrepresented populations in Georgia. In the first year of support from the CACG in Georgia, David Meyers and Lori Tiller from UGA were charged with developing an inventory of campus based support programs in Georgia and traveled to do site visits at several existing programs, including the Seita Scholars program at Western Michigan University, UW Champions at the Unviersity of Washington and Alabama REACH at the University of Alabama. Following the first CACG contract year, Fanning developed a toolkit with information and tips for campuses to reference. In the second year of support from the CACG, direct support efforts began at UGA and the statewide network was born. A conscious decision was made at that time to develop programs for students who have experienced homelessness and those who have experienced foster care, since many of the issues that these students face are similar.