Palm Beach State College has been awarded three five-year federal grants by the U.S. Department of Education to continue its Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) and its two Talent Search programs. They are all part of federal grant programs collectively known as TRIO.
Palm Beach State’s EOC will receive $236,900 per year, and each of the college’s Talent Search programs will get $240,000 per year.
With the money, the EOC will continue serving adults 19 years or older who desire a postsecondary education. The college’s Talent Search programs will continue its services to 1,300 sixth-grade through 12th-grade students throughout Palm Beach County.
“Each of these programs serve a good cross section of students starting in middle school up to adults,” said David Asencio, dean of student development. “We have established strong partnerships with our public school system, as well as community organizations over the years. Our managers, advisors and assistants work long hours and embrace their students’ dreams as if they were their own. We not only build teams, we build families. Many of the students we serve achieve their goal of enrolling in a post-secondary institution, with many of them attending Palm Beach State College as their college of choice. It goes without saying that we are truly the training grounds for tomorrow’s leaders.”
Participants in the EOC get connected to tutors, mentors and counselors who help them complete the college admissions process, obtain information on financial aid options, conduct scholarship searches and attend financial literacy workshops, among others.
The Talent Search program helps youth from disadvantaged backgrounds finish high school and enroll in and succeed in college. The program provides academic, career and financial counseling and information on the availability of financial aid.
Talent Search staff also assist participants with the postsecondary application process and encourages those who have not completed education programs at the secondary or postsecondary level to complete postsecondary education.
PBSC launched the EOC and its first Talent Search program in 2002. The initial Talent Search program was created to serve students at 10 middle and high schools in Riviera Beach, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Belle Glade and Pahokee.
The college received a separate grant in 2006 to expand the Talent Search program to eight middle and high schools in southern Palm Beach County.
The EOC targets 11 communities throughout Palm Beach County.
Federal TRIO programs are outreach and student services programs designed to help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.
In addition to the Educational Opportunity Center and Talent Search programs, PBSC also operates Upward Bound and Student Support Services.
Serving 48,000 students annually, Palm Beach State College is the largest institution of higher education in Palm Beach County, providing bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, professional certificates, career training and more. Established in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college, PBSC offers more than 130 programs of study at locations in Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens and Belle Glade, with a new campus under construction in Loxahatchee Groves.