Erin Hardin receives grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission
Erin Hardin (Lead PI) and Melinda Gibbons (Co-PI) received a 1-year grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), through the East Tennessee Development District ($53,902) to create the PiPES Community Program. The funded project will expand the services currently provided by Hardin and Gibbons’ NIH SEPA-funded project PiPES: Possibilities in Postsecondary Education and Science, which is providing postsecondary education and STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, and medical) career awareness programming for students in Campbell and Union Counties. Funding from ARC will be used to leverage existing relationships in these counties to expand the work of PiPES to provide career counseling and job search skills to local adults. Funding will support two graduate students who have formal training and experience in career counseling, to staff a community career services office operated after school and in the evening 1 day a week at two of PiPES schools, Jellico and Union County high schools. They will offer structured multi-week workshops offering exploration of career and post-secondary options, one-time workshops (e.g., resume creation, job search and interview skills, applying for financial aid), as well as limited individual consultation / career counseling hours. Career and college knowledge deficits are salient in these regions. Economic development in these counties is hampered by the low rates of educational attainment in the workforce - the vast majority of Appalachian adults (74.4%) have a high school diploma or less (Pollard & Jacobsen, 2013), indicating substantial barriers to postsecondary training in general. The most recently available data indicate that although unemployment rates in Campbell and Union counties have declined in recent months, they are still higher than state and national averages. The PiPES Community program will address these deficits and barriers to encourage post-secondary education and job readiness.
Congrats Drs. Hardin and Gibbons!