Grant Aided By Island Coalition

April 21, 2014

Galveston Independent School District, and Galveston as a whole, is once again fortunate to receive another grant that will go toward Ball High’s transformation into a center for innovate learning.

The Galveston Youth CareerConnect grant will leverage nearly $4 million to strengthen the academic and career skills of high school students in the information technology, engineering and health science fields. The program begins this fall and is open to all district sophomores.

Much of the credit for receiving the grant goes to two community partners, the Galveston Sustainable Communities Alliance and Galveston College. The first of which, led by GSCA Executive Director Erica Adams, headed up the grant writing process that led to a share of $107 million to help redesign the high school experience. Galveston College will host many of the classes taught as part of the grant.

The grant sets a precedence in that it represents a rare occasion when all the major educational institutions on the island came together to work on specific project designed to benefit local students. Galveston ISD, Galveston College, University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas A&M at Galveston all had input in the grant application, with GISD and Galveston College putting up a lion’s share of the grant writing costs as flagship funders.

The award was one of 24 across the country, joining other educational powerhouse cities such as Los Angeles and New York. The grant was designed to be robust in both academics and career preparation, expanding programs already available at Ball High with those available at Galveston College.

During the course of the grant, more than 1,300 students will receive integrated academic and career- focused learning, work-based activities, individualized care and academic counseling, connected internship opportunities and industry recognized credentials in a high-growth job. Students who follow this program will be able to earn certifications as an EMT, a patient care technician, in engineering-Autodesk or CAD and in information technology.

Participating students will graduate with a high school diploma, at least 12 total semester hours and up to 24 dual college-credit hours from Galveston College. They will earn real-world experience through internships, job shadowing and guest speakers. All books and certification tests will be paid and provided for through the grant.

Those mentorships and internships will take place in Galveston, whether at one of the major postsecondary educational institutions or businesses on the island. The immersive experience will give Ball High students the opportunity to continue their education in their particular field or simply gain the skills they need to earn a living-wage job.

“We know from research that students involved in career preparation courses in high school are more likely to graduate than their peers,” said Adams. “The GYCC is a comprehensive approach to academic and career preparation that will set students on a path to success and position them to ‘earn and learn’ for the rest of their lives.”