Arkansas has experienced a drop in the college-going rate. To counter the trend, ASU has received funding for the AmeriCorps-sponsored Neighborhood Red Wolves Community Engagement (NRWCEP) program to help with college recruitment and prepare students for successful postsecondary transitions.
The second-year federal funding includes $131,885 to place 16 reduced half-time math prep AmeriCorps members and adds two full-time post-secondary readiness AmeriCorps members in public schools in Jonesboro and community partner sites. In January, AmeriCorps presented an operational grant of $104,577 to support the efforts of training volunteers and staff to serve as tutors in select junior high schools in Jonesboro.
During the 2021-22 school year, two post-secondary readiness AmeriCorps members will support college planning, post-secondary goal setting, and personal skill development with students at local high schools. Members will be recruited from the community at large as well as the ASU graduate school to leverage their experience in the higher education community.
The Arkansas Department of Education’s career readiness and work-based learning department will provide training and resources to the members, drawing from strategies used by the successful Arkansas College and Career Coach program, where full-time, employed coaches provide support to students in grades 7-12 as they plan and prepare for life after high school.
With an emphasis on college readiness, high school graduation, and college entrance, the Neighborhood Red Wolves program strives to expose students to a variety of post-secondary options, including diverse career and college pathways. Members will work with students on individual plans designed to identify action steps and track post-secondary planning goals. These members will mentor a total of 200 unduplicated high school students in grades 10-12 for approximately 40 hours a week for 43 weeks.
The program is housed in the Division of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement at A-State. Each person hired will receive a living allowance ($1,535 for tutors and $15,100 for college readiness), an AmeriCorps stipend with completion of the program ($2,417.14 for tutors and $6,345 for college readiness) and the tutors will also be eligible for one of five renewable $2,000 A-State AmeriCorps scholarships.
AmeriCorps is affiliated with A-State as a national service program. The university engages students, graduates and community members in national service opportunities through the Neighborhood Red Wolves Community Engagement (NRWCE). The NRWCE works through AmeriCorps to secure A-State students into intensive service experiences with local schools and non-profit partners locally.
The AmeriCorps program in Arkansas is operated through EngageAR in the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. In addition to managing the state AmeriCorps sub-grant program, the office works to build collaboration across federal and state agencies, community-based organizations and national streams of service programs.