MIDDLETOWN, VA- The United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley is teaming up with Lord Fairfax Community College to to get high school dropouts back into school.
"One of our priorities was to help encourage our young people, people who might have dropped out of school, to go back to school and develop a career path for the future," says Joe Shtulman, President of the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
LFCC's Middle College program brings 18 to 24 year olds, who don't have a high school diploma, to the college setting. Now in it's second year, the program's received a $17,000 grant to expand its reach.
"We will partner to recruit people whose skill level is at the ninth grade level and can come to Lord Fairfax and be interested in participating in our program," says Judith James, LFCC's Middle College Coordinator. "That's preparing them to become college and career ready," she adds.
The United Way says the grant stemmed from a community study, that showed surprising statistics of high school dropouts.
"The statistics showed that not only nine percent of the adults had less than a ninth grade education, but about 25 percent had little or no high school," Shtulman says.
The Middle College program aims to not only get students a GED and into college, but also to be competitive in the job market.
"The jobs of today are much more complex than they used to be," Shtulman says. "You need additional education to compete in the workplace. If our community is going to succeed, we need to encourage employers to come in that have the higher paying jobs, that need the higher educated individuals. The Middle College program provides a pathway to that career success,' he adds.
Middle College coordinators say they're using the grant to help hire a case manager to coach the students. They say they program will give students the tools for a second chance to make the grade.