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University Outreach’s Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement, or CEOE, was recently awarded a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity grant through the Alabama Department of Commerce.

The grant will allow CEOE to partner with the career tech departments at Macon and Bullock County schools, serving 11th and 12th grade students pursuing industry recognized credentials for employment in various fields including healthcare and technology.

CEOE will provide students a range of support services including work readiness and employability skills, entrepreneurial skills training, Culture Bump global and cross-cultural skills, financial literacy, mental well-being counseling and college and career awareness. Students will earn certificates or digital badges at the end of each training module. Upon completion of the program, students will receive stipends intended to help them continue their education and launch their careers.

“Collaborations with local K-12 districts and programs intended to close the opportunity gap for Alabama students is at the heart of CEOE’s mission,” said Stacey Nickson, CEOE director. “University Outreach has long promoted Auburn’s land grant mission through similar activities.”

The grant will provide CEOE an annual budget of $180,000, renewable for a total of three years. A collaboration of multiple units across University Outreach (Faculty Engagement, GEDI, Office of Public Service and the Encyclopedia of Alabama) will enhance the breadth of services provided to the student participants. The program is slated to begin in January 2021.

“This program will offer a significant opportunity to underserved students while enhancing the future economy of their local communities” said LaKami Baker, interim director of GEDI and co-principal investigator on the grant.