The grant comes from federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families funds as a block grant to Arkansas Department of Workforce Services and ADHE, which is then provided as sub-grants to help cover costs of tuition and books, childcare and transportation for qualifying students at 25 colleges and technical sites across the state.
It is limited to individuals who are primary guardians of a child 21 or younger that meets financial need requirements, and individuals can apply for enrollment at any of the state's 22 two-year colleges. CPI students must enroll in training programs for occupations identified as high-demand and high-wage, but it also helps students who didn't graduate from high school receive the General Equivalency Diploma (GED).
In its seventh year, grant totals have surpassed $70,000,000 and served 21,000 students who have earned almost 19,000 certificates and degrees.
"The Career Pathways Initiative has been identified as one of the most promising programs in higher education by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems," said Shane Broadway, ADHE interim director, "and has assisted thousands of students in Arkansas who otherwise might be able to go to college."
The average age of students in the CPI program is 32 and 58 percent are single parents, officials said, with 90 percent of participants being female. About half of the students complete programs in health science studies.
"Our Career Pathways Initiative is the only program of its kind in the country that operates solely with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funding," said Dr. Karon Rosa, CPI program director. "In addition to receiving the Innovative Community Development Program Award from the Arkansas Community Development Society, CPI has been featured in national publications and was recently presented as a model to Georgia legislators."
Contact your local two-year college for more information about the CPI program (click here for website) or call 1-866-400-7284.