California State University, Long Beach
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$90,000 Grant to Support Upward Bound Workforce Investment Act

Published: October 15, 2010

The City of Long Beach recently awarded the Upward Bound program at CSULB a $90,000 grant to support a two-year program called the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

The money will be used in the recruitment of 30 high school students from Long Beach, ages 16-18, to participate in the program.

“Typically the kind of student we look for are low-income, first-generation; someone who really needs academic help and can really benefit from the program,” said Sandra Young, WIA/ Mentorship Program coordinator for Upward Bound, noting the WIA program has been at CSULB for 17 years. “You have to live in Long Beach, but not necessarily attend a Long Beach school.

“We look for students with barriers to education or employment,” she added. “Barriers can include pregnant or parenting teens, basic skills deficiency in math or English, foster youth, homeless and low income. Most of the students we serve are basic skills deficient and some teen parents, but they must be low income to qualify for the program.”

During the two-year program students receive summer internships to work on the CSULB campus, twice-monthly Saturday tutorials/workshops during the academic year, a free monthly bus pass, up to $300 in gift cards for reaching set goals, free school supplies and a year-end recognition banquet.

“A big part of the program is placing our students in summer internships on campus through various departments, and the great thing about that is if the student is a senior and will be attending Cal State Long Beach, he or she may be hired to continue working in that department,” said Young. “The internship site coordinators really take great care of the WIA participants. They take the time to teach the students office protocol and what it will be like in the real world. It’s great for any teenager to be able to say that as a high school student, they had the opportunity to work on a college campus.”

During the first year of the program, students are tested to see if they need tutoring help in English or math, participate in work-readiness training, do the on-campus summer internships and attend the Saturday tutorials/workshops where they receive information on financial aid and other things needed for college, such as ACT and SAT testing. They are also given service learning opportunities, such as working on beach clean up or at homeless shelters. In addition, they are eligible to participate in the Mentor Program, which is designed to help students meet the challenges of college life.

The second year is a follow up, according to Young, who checks in with the students every month to see how they are doing or if they need anything. She also serves as a conduit if they are looking for work by connecting them to sources to help them find a job.

“This year we are doing something a little different by giving students a Work Readiness Credential,” said Young. “There is a lot more that will go into this program now than in the past. It’s something they can put on their resume and they will receive a certificate from the university indicating they completed the internship and program. The students like the program so much that many of them call back to see if they can do it again, but unfortunately they can only do it once.”

Other departments on campus that have supported WIA through the years include the Program Council, College of Engineering, 49er Women’s Basketball, University Outreach and School Relations, College Assistant Migrant Program, Talent Search Program, Student Union, Study Abroad, K-beach Radio and others.

For additional information, contact Young at 562/985-5571 or Phillip Humphrey at 562/985-5520.

–Shayne Schroeder