At-risk youth may not see attending college as an option.
But a groundbreaking program initiated at OTC and several of the area’s four-year colleges gives the students a chance to improve their educational lives by giving them and their case workers specific names, faces and contact information of advisors at the colleges who can assist them in enrolling and gaining financial aid.
Recently, the college joined with Missouri State, Drury and Evangel universities to form the Crossover Youth Educational Partnerships committee and held a training session at OTC where representatives from the colleges met with local social service agencies to help teach them how they can reach out to students in need of educational guidance.
“The purpose of the training was to teach case workers how to navigate admissions and financial aid alongside their students at the four colleges represented,” said Jason Morgan, vocational resource educator of high school programs at OTC.
The national Crossover Youth Initiative is being led by educators at Georgetown University who saw what OTC and others were doing in reaching out to case workers and invited Morgan to lead a webinar for those in 28 other states who are developing the same program. More than 70 people watched Morgans presentation.
“Essentially, I was walking the other sites through the process of setting up a similar partnership in their communities, a network of support that puts students and case workers in touch with helpful information and resources on each campus,” he said.
“It gives a face, name and contact information to those who may be apprehensive about walking into a large institution and navigating all the processes alone. “
Macon Stewart, program manager for the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown, wrote in an email that Greene County representatives were “thinking outside the box ” with their approach.
The colleges “took on the development of several innovations to improve outcomes and opportunities for youth involved in their systems. The work of the subcommittee is unique in that no other site to date has explored exposing youth to collegiate opportunities in this manner,” she wrote.
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