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CLC receives $1.9 million Educational Talent Search competitive grant

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Aug 11, 2016

The College of Lake County has received a five-year grant of $1,987,200 from the U.S. Department of Education to continue funding the successful Educational Talent Search program. It is one of eight federal TRiO programs that provide disadvantaged youth with connections to high-quality tutoring and counseling services to improve financial aid literacy and planning for postsecondary education. Each year, CLC offers free college-planning services to 828 students attending high schools in North Chicago, Round Lake, Waukegan and Zion.

The program’s staff provide academic advising, coaching, mentoring, tutoring, college visits, career shadowing and workshops on ACT/SAT Prep, study skills, time management, freshman transition, career exploration, career success skills, federal/state student aid options and financial literacy. The CLC Board of Trustees will formally accept the grant at its Aug. 23 meeting.

Prentiss Grant with his father Darryl Grant at graduationFormer Talent Search student Prentiss Grant attended Zion-Benton High School, graduated from CLC in 2013 and then earned a business degree from Northern Illinois University in 2015. He credits the program with his persistence and success in college and career. (Photo: Prentiss Grant (on right, with his father, Darryl Grant) at his graduation from CLC in 2013.)

“I’m the first in my family to graduate from college, and deciding to attend CLC was the best decision I made in my life. No one in my family had experience in applying to and preparing for college. Through Educational Talent Search, I met Dr. Sharon Sanders-Funnye. I saw her on a weekly basis, at job-shadowing tours, college tours and seminars on transitioning to college,” he said. While attending CLC, Grant was a student worker in the Talent Search office. “Guiding other students helped me grow as a person, from developing public speaking skills to deciding on a career in sales,” he said.

Dr. Sharon Sanders-Funnye, who has directed CLC’s TRiO Educational Talent Search program for eight years, said the program has provided college access services for thousands of students since CLC first received the grant in 1994. “We are able to successfully serve students with the internal support of CLC and partnerships with our high school sites, local businesses, non-profit organizations and the community,” she said.

“Talent Search is a key part of our comprehensive efforts at student success,” said CLC President Jerry Weber. “It provides access and college information to high school students in our community who may have thought that attending college was out of the question.”

Data from CLC’s Talent Search program shows that participants report a secondary school persistence rate of 93 percent, secondary school graduation rate of 98 percent in a regular program of study, secondary school graduation rate of 91 percent in a rigorous program of study and enrollment in postsecondary education at 89 percent.

Dr. Chris Clark, superintendent of Zion-Benton Township High School District 126, said that Talent Search has benefitted more than 1,600 of its students in the last eight years. “The program provides rich experiences and excellent services that guide students for success in and beyond high school. The staff is truly an inspiration to our students, providing hope and assisting students in shaping their visions for a successful future as a college student. Countless participants have gone on to complete college and secure meaningful and rewarding employment. We are extremely grateful for the measureable difference TRiO ETS has made in the lives of our students.”

For more information, call (847) 543-2049 or visit