About 1,000 people per year benefit from the Central Kansas Educational Opportunity Center, which exists to promote educational awareness by helping community members find a pathway in which to identify and meet their educational, personal and career goals.
The five-year grant supporting the CKEOC has been renewed with a 3-percent increase in funding for a total of $270,938, according to information from Barton Community College. The grantors awarded Barton’s program a score of 100 percent, 109 out of 109 possible points. New grant requests totaled 376, of which only 143 were recommended for funding. The minimum score to receive funding is 107.67.
“I felt confident we would be re-funded, due to the hard work and dedication of each CKEOC staff member to meet program goals. The Educational Opportunity Center program has been funded during competitions since 1998,” said Susie Burt, project director at the CKEOC. “We feel so blessed because of the ongoing support from Barton and the Board of Trustees.”
Barton’s program started at the same time as the University of Kansas’ EOC in 1998, and they were the first such programs in Kansas. Wichita State University received funding to start a program the following competition cycle, and ever since the three institutions have maintained a tight-knit relationship for the good of their beneficiaries.
The small crew of five at the CKEOC serves 33 counties in Kansas with offices in Great Bend, Junction City, Hays, Salina, Manhattan and Fort Riley.
Burt said while the team is small in numbers, the employees’ passion for the program, and each participant, ensures success.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded $48 million in grants to fund similar programs at 143 colleges and organizations in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The focus is to promote college readiness for nearly 200,000 adults, according to an Aug. 15 article on ed.gov.
Educational Opportunity Centers are one of eight federal grant programs collectively known as the Federal TRIO Programs. TRIO Programs identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. They help low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs, according to the ed.gov article.
“These grants will help guide almost 200,000 adults toward acquiring the skills they need for 21st century jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. in the article. “Educational Opportunity Centers serve as unique information hubs for adults seeking more insight into the resources available to them in pursuing higher education, quality work and the American Dream.”