PELLA — Central College will receive five more years of funding from the U.S. Department of Education for the college's Talent Search program. The award, contingent on annual congressional appropriations, is expected to total $2.5 million.

The nationwide TS program, part of the U.S Department of Education, prepares middle school and high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed in higher education. TS has been one of the pre-college programs at Central since 1980.

The continued funding of TS will allow the assistant director, five advisors, a recruitment specialist and an event and student record coordinator to serve a minimum of 900 students.

Two-thirds of program participants must qualify as both low-income and/or potential first-generation college graduates.

TS advisors meet with participating students once or twice a month in their schools. In addition to tutoring students, providing academic advising and exposing students to STEM opportunities, TS teaches financial literacy, test-taking skills and social emotional skills. Advisors also take students on college visits and to various cultural activities.

In addition to funding these services, the recent award will allow advisors to implement a career series using individual Myers-Briggs Type Indicator results. The program also will host a three-day STEM camp to provide an opportunity for students to study the STEM field in depth through exposure to computer programming, coding and enhanced computer skills.

"I am so excited to continue the work of the Central College TS Program," says Ellie Burns, pre-college TRIO director. "TS is critical in the work of breaking the cycle of poverty through education and exemplifies Central's mission to help students discover their greatest potential."

TS is one of seven Federal TRIO Programs that provide educational services to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Two other TRIO programs also are administered by Central: Upward Bound and Student Support Services.

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