LCCC receives two Ellbogen grant awards to help high school students

Students across Laramie County will have improved educational opportunities thanks to grants received by LCCC.

This month, the college received notification that it was awarded two grants from the John P. Ellbogen Foundation.

These grants, totaling nearly $70,000, will help support the college's GEAR UP and the Partnership Diploma Program (PDP).

More than $60,000 was allocated to fund a high school success counselor, which will expand the GEAR UP program to additional students. Currently only high school students who qualify for free lunches and are low-income can participate in this program. This grant will now allow the program to reach up to 1,000 students.

Adam Keizer, Program Manager for GEAR UP helped develop this expanded program.

"What matters is finding a way to reach these kids and give them opportunities and advantages that otherwise wouldn't exist for them," Keizer said.

According to Keizer, GEAR UP helps increase students' academic skills, helps students graduate and enroll in college, provides tutorial assistance, and gives students life skills workshops and leadership development.

Additionally, $7,550 was granted to the PDP to train staff, incorporate the tenets of the Code of the West and Cowboy Ethics in an incentive program to help students reach their potential. The PDP has helped hundreds of Laramie County students reach graduation through a partnership with the school district, giving students an alternative approach to finish high school that isn't possible in a traditional setting.

Program director Martha Thein created the initiative for this request.

"This is a chance to help these young people reach for the best in themselves," Thein shared. She noted that this program has found success across the country, and her students would not be able to participate without a grant opportunity like this.

The LCCC Foundation is the official receiving agency for these awards.

Victoria Steel, director of grants and special projects within LCCC's Department of Institutional Effectiveness, added how crucial the work done by her office was in securing the grants.

"Our office provides expertise and resources in the areas of institutional research, project management, grant development, and compliance," Steel said. "Drawing upon this capability, we organize LCCC project teams for cross-campus and cross-community collaboration to increase college capacity and resources."

Maryellen Tast, dean of LCCC's School Outreach & Workforce Development, also wanted to recognize the college's Institutional Research Office. "This team contributes greatly in being able to secure these types of grant awards," she said.