HANCEVILLE, Ala. — A program that helps students who may not normally think they could attend college do just that has been extended at Wallace State Community College thanks to a federal grant. WSCC has been awarded $415,920 to continue funding for its Talent Search program during 2016-2107. The grant is expected to be extended for a five years.

The college received word of the grant from Congressman Robert Aderholt’s office.

“Wallace State is grateful to Congressman Aderholt for his support of this program, which changes lives by providing encouragement and support to students who will be the first in their families to attend college,” said Wallace State President Vicki Karolewics.

The Talent Search program identifies and assists students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education. It provides academic, career, and financial counseling to its participants and encourages them to graduate from high school and enroll in and complete postsecondary education.

“I believe the Talent Search program is a great idea,” said Congressman Aderholt. “There are so many individuals I know would do well in higher education but maybe they are just intimidated by any number of reasons. This program acts as a personal cheerleader for these students and I’m excited about its potential.”

The program informs participating students of the availability of financial aid and assists them with the postsecondary application process. Talent Search also encourages persons who have not completed education programs at the secondary or postsecondary level to enter or reenter and complete postsecondary education. The goal of Talent Search is to increase the number of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete high school and enroll in and complete their postsecondary education.

“Many individuals and families have benefited from these services since the first Talent Search grant was awarded in 1988, and we are honored and excited to continue to facilitate students’ pursuit of higher education,” said Talent Search Director Kristi Nyquist. “This funding will allow our program to continue to serve students in 15 schools in four north Alabama counties.”

The Wallace State Talent Search Program serves a Blount, Cullman, Marshall, andMorgan Counties, with a population of over 300,000.

This area of Alabama, as with other areas of the Appalachian region, remains behind the southeast and the U.S. as a whole regarding income and education levels. As a result, the cultural and educational opportunities are limited in the service area. Wallace State’s Talent Search program will reach approximately 875 students in the 15 schools in the target area in order to facilitate not only persistence in secondary school, but also academically rigorous coursework that will enable students to be successful in postsecondary education.

The program will assist participants with secondary school persistence through to graduation, the pursuit of a rigorous secondary school program of study, as well as facilitating the completion of applications for college admission, financial aid, and scholarships. Academic tutoring, career advisement/assessments, secondary course and curriculum advising and personal counseling (where appropriate) will be provided to all participants. Participants will be tracked to ensure project success for both short-term and long-term results.

Talent Search is one of two federal TRIO programs operated at Wallace State. The college also offers a Student Support Services program, which provides tutoring and related services to improve success rates of students in the Talent Search demographic once they enroll in college.

For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu or call 256.352.8000.