A Southeast Arkansas College student is among participants benefiting from a program to help low-income residents receive degrees.

A Southeast Arkansas College student is among participants benefiting from a program to help low-income residents receive degrees.


Students in the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative earn associate degrees or technical certificates at more than double the rate of the general community college population in Arkansas, a College Count$ study reported March 31.


"The Southeast Arkansas College Career Pathways Program not only offered me the job skills training needed to gain employment, but they also provided me with life skills, such as getting my driver’s license, all while mentoring me along the way," Rosalin Curtis, CPI participant, said in a news release.


"Without Career Pathways, I wouldn’t have been able to get on my feet again. The staff has been very encouraging to me. I am now looking forward to expanding my skill set and owning my business one day," Curtis said.


CPI, administered by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and the state’s 22 community colleges and three university technical centers, provided education and training to more than 30,000 low-income Arkansans since 2006.


The program helped them acquire degrees and/or certificates to obtain and hold jobs in high-demand and high-wage industries. Funds for the program comes from the federal Temporary Assistance for Need Families appropriations administered through the state Department of Workforce Services, the news release said.


Students who participate in CPI must qualify for public assistance, live at 250 percent or less of the poverty level and support a family as a custodial parent.


The findings were the first phase of research from College Count$, a joint research project established in April 2015 by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation. The College Count$ study was conducted by Metis Associates, a national research firm.