CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – West Texas A&M University announced it has received more than $2 million in grants for programs meant to increase educational attainment and rate of living wage employment among local underserved and rural populations.
The university is set to act as a base for a new AmeriCorps program, partnering with area high schools, community colleges, organizations and businesses, workforce and economic development entities to help existing systems and generate new opportunities.
The university was awarded a totally of $1.4 million over the course of three years from the OneStar Foundation, the governor-appointed state service commission for national service, as well as nearly $800,000 from the Greater Texas Foundation.
The grants will fund the Rural Resilience and Opportunity on the High Plans (R2O HP) initiative and the Access to Success West Texas AmeriCorps program.
R2O HP is a rural collaboration that will focus on civic engagement, leadership, and resource development. Access to Success West Texas plans to help people in under-resourced and rural communities with skill building and education, according to program director Misty Rueda.
“This money will help us build a more supportive and inclusive environment and makes it possible for everyone to thrive in sustainable careers and communities,” Rueda said, “We really want this to be a community-based approach that helps fill the gaps and supports existing efforts.”
Rueda continued to explain the AmeriCorps program will focus on an expanded mentoring program with members serving as academic and resources coaches. Those members will serve historically underserved populations in the Texas Panhandle consisting of economically disadvantaged, first generation, and other underrepresented groups of high school and college students, as well as adult learners.
“We believe that through these collaborations, Access to Success West Texas and Rural Resilience and Opportunity on the High Plains will help increase opportunity, improve educational attainment, job placement and financial security, and promote resilience and quality of life throughout the High Plains,” Rueda said.
According to WTAMU, addressing regional challenges is a part of the university’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.
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