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Free Summer Career-Explore Programs for Low-Income Youth
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Free Summer Career-Explore Programs for Low-Income Youth

BEST, Summer Start 2023 to focus on college-success skills

Parkland College will provide two free career-explorational programs for current high school students this summer at the campus.    Both programs, funded through grants from the Illinois Community College Board’s Innovative Bridge and Transition Program and the federal Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund, are designed to prepare low-income, first-generation-college, and minority high school students for successful passage to college and career. First, the Bridge to Education through Summer Transition, or BEST program, will provide a summer experience for seniors graduating this spring who are curious about exploring their fit at Parkland College. BEST 2023 will take place June 5–29. The second program, Summer Start 2023, will be geared toward current high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. It will run June 7–July 13. Morgann Quilty, director of the Parkland College Learning Commons, said both programs meet an important need in District 505 communities. "We recognize that there are students and their families in our community who have had limited experience with higher education and may not be aware of the value and career opportunities that can be found by pursuing a college experience," Quilty said. "These sessions connect students with career demonstrations and help them learn the skills they need to be successful in college."     Student participants will take career assessments, explore careers through guest speakers and interactive experiences, learn computer literacy using laptops they can keep, and receive wraparound academic support services along with a stipend to help offset loss of income from summer jobs. Sessions for both programs will run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and include breakfast and lunch. MTD vouchers will be available for students who need help reaching campus.   Students interested in participating are encouraged to apply; priority will be given to DREAAM program participants, students on the free and reduced lunch program, or recommendations from high school counselors. Spaces are limited. Contact Tracey Hickox at thickox@parkland.edu or visit parkland.edu/best and parkland.edu/summerstart23 for more information.

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