21st Century Scholars is designed to help students and families lay a strong foundation for creating career goals and identifying appropriate educational and career opportunities. 21st Century Scholars exposes students and their families to resources and activities that include the development of soft skills through partnerships such as the AT&T® Career Exploration program, enrichment activities, college and employment application process, job shadowing, etc.
This year 21st Century Scholars plans on expanding its relationship with partner AT&T® Aspire for student career exploration through the introduction of the NEPRIS project. NEPRIS is a cloud-based platform that virtually connects students with industry professionals in order to bring real-world experience into the classroom. 21st Century Scholars intends on offering NEPRIS to students in their CTE (Career & Technical Education) classes. These CTE classes will allow students the ability to job-shadow AT&T® employees using the NEPRIS software. Currently, 21st Century Scholars staff are getting the software approved, orienting teachers for usage and offering the first virtual lesson taught by an AT&T® employee.
21st Century scholars also participated in College Application Week sponsored by the College Foundation of North Carolina. The College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is a free service of the State of North Carolina. CFNC promotes access to North Carolina higher education and assists students with education planning, career planning, and applying and paying for college. From November 14-18, during College Application Week, CISGG® interns and volunteers helped seniors at Dudley and Smith High School to apply to colleges and universities online.
Like previous years, we're working with seniors to help them apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Interns are assisting students in this process. The students benefit from this assistance as many students are often unaware of FAFSA as a resource for applying to college. Students generally do not receive this service from their guidance counselors. The national student to counselor ratio is 470:1. This equals about 20 minutes of counseling per student per year. 21st Century Scholars is helpful to students because it allows students who might not get the opportunity to get guidance from a counselor the opportunity to receive assistance. Many of our students are at-risk and need more than 20 minutes of guidance counseling. 21st Century Scholars is an invaluable resource providing one-on-one college planning for students. By offering a one-on-one college planning adviser, students are able to successfully create post-secondary plans. Advisers help the students follow through on necessary steps to take in order to complete their plans.
One of the areas of improvement for 21st Century Scholars is increasing the amount of volunteers and college interns for the program. With an increase in volunteers and college interns, there will be more support for 21st Century Scholar students year-round.