WAUKESHA, WIS.—“The best pathway to the middle class is through post-secondary education,” Georgetown University researchers found in a 2011 study on Career Clusters. This suggests that the career and financial success of individuals, as well as our region and country, depend on an educated background.
A deficiency in college and career readiness diminishes students’ academic, career and life choices. Disadvantaged students are often unprepared for college due to several factors, including low ACT scores, inadequate skills to complete college-level instruction, lack of access to information about college and a lack of broader cultural context.
Carroll University is committed to improving the success of high-need high school students in greater Milwaukee by establishing community partnerships and offering quality pre-college programming. Project Pioneer is one of these innovative programs, designed to address academic preparedness and encourage skill and knowledge acquisition for college- and career-ready youth. Project Pioneer creates learning communities that foster necessary skill development for academic, social and economic success.
A recent $10,000 grant from PNC Foundation supports this initiative. “The PNC Foundation grant is crucial to the success of Project Pioneer, providing support and resources for deliberate activities and discussions that expand students’ perception of their future,” said Dr. Donnie Hale, director of pre-college programs at Carroll University. “Beyond the goal of increasing the likeliness of post-secondary enrollment, the project is focused on helping students develop an understanding of themselves as leaders who can change their community and the world.”
Chris Goller, Regional President Wisconsin, spoke to the history of PNC and the PNC Foundation, which strengthens and enriches its neighborhood communities by prioritizing education and economic development. “PNC provides the seed to foster development initiatives and encourage leadership in nonprofit organizations where imagination and determination are at work enhancing people’s lives every day,” said Goller. “We wish Carroll University much success in the Project Pioneer program.”
Initially started as a partnership with CEO Leadership Academy (now Milwaukee Collegiate Academy), Project Pioneer has expanded to also serve Messmer High School and Carmen High School of Science and Technology.
The PNC grant will help fund a Career and Academic Leadership Development Seminar, which will be held at Carroll University on three consecutive Saturdays in spring 2014. Each partner high school will have 20 spots, divided equally between freshman and sophomore students. The seminar will enhance school performance and leadership, and will assist students in setting SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Each Saturday, participants will hear from community role models about their paths to success and the challenges they had to overcome. Students will work with teachers and Carroll student mentors to establish goals and develop strategies for achievement. After the final session, a celebration of learning will include participants’ parents to ensure they are included in their students’ plans for success.
About Carroll University
Carroll, Wisconsin’s oldest four-year institution of higher learning, is an independent, co-educational comprehensive university grounded in the liberal arts tradition. Incorporated in 1846, it offers bachelor’s degrees in 57 majors and master’s degrees in business administration, education, exercise physiology, graphic communication, nursing, physician assistant studies and software engineering, as well as a clinical doctorate in physical therapy.