TRiO Talent Search is a federally-funded program that offers specialized services and outreach for students who come from a low-income background and/or are first-generation college students. The TRiO program at FSCJ through Downtown and South campuses is offered at multiple middle and high schools around Jacksonville. At FSCJ South Campus alone, TRiO served 501 students during the 2017-18 school year. Out of 96 seniors, 79 graduated and of those graduates, 75 enrolled in a higher education program. Out of 405 non-senior participants, 388 continued in school at the next grade level for the 2018-19 school year.
What makes the TRiO Talent Search so unique? The answer is that even though it’s dedicated to higher education, it also offers academic services, mentorship and financial counseling that students can start as early as sixth grade.
When asked why it is vital to start thinking about college in middle school, Wanda Martin, program director for TRiO at South Campus said, “Today's competitive college admissions process is proof that middle school is the right time to plant that seed of going to college. Middle school students may seem young, but they have arrived at the age where they're beginning to understand their strengths, interests and the kind of future they would like. Given this, it's certainly not too early to start promoting college awareness.”
According to Dr. Sabrina F. Edwards, program director for TRiO at Downtown Campus, the best part of her job is being able to lead and inspire, and being able to make a difference in the lives of all the students she meets. As the product of a low-income family and a first-generation college student, she too understands how important it is to have programs like TRiO.
“I have students that I’ve helped who now have successful careers and are coming back and telling their success stories of how student support services changed their lives and how I was able to provide them with those resources.”
The goal of TRiO is to not only speak with students about their goals and life aspirations but to also give them the knowledge and tools they need to get into college so they can go after their dreams. TRiO has had many success stories over the years or as said by Martin, “I feel any TRiO student that completes college is a success story.”
In addition to the Talent Search grant through TRIO, FSCJ also receives grant funds for TRIO's Student Support Services program. Click here
to watch a video.