Linda Barker Receives Five-Year Grant for Educational Opportunity Center in the Arkansas Delta Region

Linda BarkerEducation is an important component for success that should be available to all persons regardless of socio-economic background. Linda Barker, Director of the TRIO Educational Talent Search and Educational Opportunity Center Programs, has been awarded a five-year grant totaling $1,179,985 from the US Department of Education for a new Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) that will provide information and access to education and training programs for 1,000 people in a 12-county area in the Arkansas Delta. TRIO will receive $235,997 each year.

For low-income individuals living in this region, it is difficult to access adequate educational opportunities, and many are in need of technological training and skill development. According to the 2013 American Community Survey, Arkansas ranks second highest in percentage of low-income working families. In the delta region, 21% of residents live on a low income and 86% of adults do not have a post-secondary degree, which is becoming imperative to obtaining a successful career.

The new Delta EOC will provide guidance, academic and financial information, and assistance throughout the year to adults who wish to advance their academic career at a post-secondary institution. Workshops, financial aid information, literacy sessions, computer lab tutorials, entrance exam preparation, individual counseling, and computerized placement exams will be available to individuals in the program. The computerized placement assessments will evaluate an individual’s skill in reading, writing, and mathematics, and will outline a specific plan of action for post-secondary education. It will also identify clients who need to enroll in college remediation courses.

Along with academic placement and admission services, the Delta EOC will also provide career services and counseling for clients in the program. Individuals will be able to identify high-demand jobs, take interest surveys, and explore different career options. They will also be able to partake in career day workshops and job preparation activities sponsored by partnering campus offices and other community partners.

Through participation in EOC services, residents in the delta region of Arkansas will be able to access the services necessary to enroll in a post-secondary institution and create a comprehensive plan for academic and career success.

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