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Owensboro Black Expo partners with OCTC and OPS for ACE program

In Education, Local, News by OC Monitor Staff

OWENSBORO, Ky. — The Owensboro Black Expo is teaming up with Owensboro Community and Technical College to increase the supports that are in place for African American students by partnering to form ACE-Academic Career Exploration, beginning in August 2021.

“The Owensboro Black Expo believes all students have the capacity to achieve academic and personal excellence when provided the necessary supports. The ACE program will launch our students to the next level,” said Dracin Williams.

ACE is a comprehensive program providing a range of resources to support the academic and personal development of Black high school students in Owensboro through self-discovery, career exploration, academic and leadership development.

“From a college perspective we just want more students to consider college, whether that is with us or at another institution. There is also a myriad of opportunities in technical fields that may be unfamiliar to many African-American students,” said Dr. Scott Williams, OCTC President.

The primary goal of ACE is to develop the necessary skills for students to stay on track for graduation. ACE wants to help increase the on-to-college rate for these students. ACE plans to accomplish that by connecting students with industry mentors, their peers and their faculty through a variety of activities. These may be social events, academic/leadership initiatives, job shadowing or career exploration activities. ACE will provide a greater understanding of many career opportunities and the additional requirements beyond academic that are needed for different professions.

“It has been a pleasure working with Owensboro Black Expo on developing the ACE program. I believe this program will greatly benefit students in the Owensboro area by encouraging students to reach their full potential,” said OCTC’s Interim Director of Cultural Diversity, Sharmy Davis.

The ACE pilot program will be offered to students attending Owensboro High School and Owensboro Innovation Academy, beginning August 2021. Exceptions can be made for students participating in homeschool instruction, for more information and how to apply, contact Williams or Davis. The initial ACE cohort will be capped at 30 students, with additional schools being added once the pilot has been established.

Owensboro Public Schools Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, David Phillips added, “OPS is excited to collaborate with OCTC on this program. We believe the exposure to opportunities, community connections, and mentorship with community leaders will encourage students to stay on track for graduation and to plan for the next step of education. A high school diploma is not the end goal; it is one step toward success in the future. This program will help students understand that and provide support to show students they have endless opportunities for postsecondary education.”

Students will be recommended by their high school to apply for the ACE program. The students must identify as African American, of mixed African heritage, or the African diaspora. Students must meet need-based criteria, which will be determined by each high school. Exceptions may be made through a review process. The ACE program advisor for OPS is Career and Technical Education Coordinator, Monica Rice.

For more information about ACE, contact [email protected].