UAA starting program with Anchorage high schools helping first generation and low income students

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 3:44 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Talent Search is a program offering skill-building workshops, college entrance and financial literacy advising, and other academic services. Associate Vice Provost of Target Programs and Populations at University of Alaska Anchorage Deanne Woodard says these services are aimed at low income and first generation students in the Anchorage School District.

“Often times when a student is low income or first generation, postsecondary school is not on their radar,” Woodard said. “You know, the first thing that many students in this population are thinking about are jobs going right into the workforce after high school. So programs like this help students understand that they do have options, that going straight into the workforce is not their only option.”

According to Ward, this new program will serve 500 students across West High School, Bartlett High School and Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School.

The principal of Bartlett High, Sean Prince, said a student’s future can depend on just one conversation.

“In that person’s mind it trickles down to like, one conversation they had with someone or they were in there with a friend, or one of their classmates was interested in taking this class and that’s kind of how they fell into it,” Prince said. “So I think for schools to have more opportunities, that’s just another opportunity for us to have that touch, that one more thing that just might be the hook to get them on to doing something different.”

The talent search program is funded federally by the U.S. Department of Education and is on a five-year grant cycle, according to a press release from the university.

“My hope is that this program opens doors for the youth in our community, the high school students in our community that we work with,” Woodard said. “That it will create opportunities for them that they maybe had not considered before or realized that they even have, and that we will be able to touch the lives of not only those students, but their families as well.”

UAA is looking to roll out the program in January.

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