The U.S. Department of Education has awarded PennWest Clarion’s TRIO Upward Bound program a five-year grant of $489,477 per year, through 2027, totaling nearly $2.5 million.
The program encourages the acquisition of academic skills and motivation needed for success in high school, college and everyday life. Designed for selected high school students in grades 9-12, Clarion's Upward Bound serves A-C Valley, Farrell, Oil City, Punxsutawney, Redbank Valley, Sharon and Union high schools.
In applying for the grant, Upward Bound director Rhonda McMillen-Toth demonstrated progress toward the program's goals and objectives and a need for the continuation of these services in the target schools. With an overall goal of post-secondary entrance and completion, Clarion's Upward Bound enables students to gain the fundamental skills necessary for their higher education pursuits.
Year-round services include academic advising, career exploration, assistance with college and financial aid applications, visits to post-secondary education institutions, and cultural and social opportunities. Upward Bound hosts monthly Campus Days at PennWest Clarion; conducts individual and small group student meetings and career/post-secondary counseling sessions; and hosts after-school programs at the target schools. The six-week residential Summer Academy lets participants experience college life in a safe environment while residing on campus in a university residence hall and gaining academic experiences.
TRIO Upward Bound has operated at Clarion since 1978 and serves 94 students per year. More than 1,100 local individuals have benefited from the Clarion program.