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Educational Talent Search at WKU expanding services in area with new federal grant

The Educational Talent Search program at WKU is expanding to Barren and Simpson counties with the addition of a third grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Educational Talent Search program at WKU hosts participating students from area counties for on-campus events each year. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

The Educational Talent Search program at WKU hosts participating students from area counties for on-campus events each year. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Educational Talent Search, one of five federally funded TRIO Programs at WKU, identifies and assists qualified students in preparing for college. The goal of the program is to increase the number of youths who graduate from high school and enroll in postsecondary institutions. The program will serve 1,841 eighth-grade through 12th-grade students in southcentral Kentucky.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $394,000 a year for ETS1, which serves 841 students in Allen, Butler, Cumberland, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe and Monroe counties; $240,000 a year for ETS2, which serves 500 students in Warren County; and $240,000 for ETS3, which will serve 500 students in Barren and Simpson counties. The total five-year funding totals $4.37 million for the three ETS grants.

“All of our TRIO Programs are college access and success programs. We just serve different populations,” said Dr. Martha Sales, executive director of WKU TRIO Programs.

TRIO Programs also include Upward Bound, Educational Opportunity Centers, Student Support Services and Veterans Upward Bound. As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of students served must be low-income and first-generation college students.

“I have a passion for helping the underprepared and underrepresented students because I was a participant in TRIO Programs,” Dr. Sales said. “I see so many students who have so much potential if they just had the opportunity.”

Educational Talent Search provides academic, career and financial counseling to students and encourages them to graduate from high school and continue on to the postsecondary institution of their choice. All services are provided free to the students.

“Our goal is to keep them from the eighth grade until they graduate from a postsecondary school,” Dr. Sales said. “For the students who don’t enroll in a postsecondary institution, we work to connect them with opportunities to join the workforce.”

Staff members in the Educational Talent Search program work with the schools to identify participants.

“It’s important that we have the support of the schools,” Dr. Sales said. “I see a real need for our services and we really are an asset to the local schools and their students.”

For more about Educational Talent Search and the other TRIO Programs, visit http://www.wku.edu/trio/ or contact the TRIO office in Jones-Jaggers Hall at (270) 745-2135.

Contact: Martha Sales, (270) 745-3757

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