Home » GEAR UP Iowa program will benefit MHS students – Marshalltown Times Republican

GEAR UP Iowa program will benefit MHS students – Marshalltown Times Republican

by Arifa Rana

Apr 14, 2022
contributed photo Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Iowa Future Ready program will provide experiences to help MHS students will their post-secondary education.
Marshalltown High School (MHS) students will have the opportunity to access multiple experiences that will help them succeed in their post-secondary education with funding provided by the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Iowa Future Ready program.
Last week, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that the program will be receiving over $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in to support the districts that GEAR UP partners with, and the Marshalltown Community School District (MCSD) is one of them.
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant said Future Ready is different from past GEAR UP programs as it focuses specifically on the 2025 graduating class and will help expose students to a variety of career paths.
Marshalltown has received the GEAR UP grants twice before, once for the class of 2014 and again for the class of 2020. There is no scholarship attached to the newest grant.
The Future Ready program will provide funding for students to have immersive experiences in several different settings and help them decide what the future holds for them, whether it means attending a four-year institution, a trade school, or even going straight into the workforce.
Wyant said job fairs, college visits and shadowing opportunities for students to see how people in different fields do their jobs are all ways MHS will do this.
“We really want kids to get into the businesses and have some small experiences and those hands-on things,” Wyant said. “So for example, a student who’s in the Grow Your Own Teacher program goes out into the field and is in the classroom and discovers ‘Oh my gosh, I cannot be around these little people. I can teach, but I can’t teach little people, so hey, can I have a different experience at middle school or high school?’ and then ‘Oh OK, I feel more comfortable at this level.’ I mean, isn’t it better for them to find out about that while they’re still in high school rather than their third year of college?”
The Future Ready program will also provide a college and career counselor — known as a GEAR UP coordinator — who will be working solely with the class of 2025, checking in and collaborating with the Marshalltown Community College (MCC) counselor to set up work-based learning experiences for students.
Along with those hands-on learning opportunities, Wyant said college visits also play a key role in preparing students for what comes after high school.
“When we go on college visits, we include technical schools. We include job core, we include two-year schools around the state that have different programs, because they don’t all offer the same programs, and then public and private,” Wyant said. “We want to give them a rounded experience of what’s available to them.”
The Iowa College Student Aid Commission, in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Education, facilitates the GEAR UP Future Ready program, and Wyant said she was glad to be working with them for the benefit of MHS students.
In addition to helping students set to graduate in 2025 explore different career paths and postsecondary options, the Future Ready program will also help seniors take their next steps after high school graduation by answering college application questions as well as financial questions regarding programs like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
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Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611
or smeyer@timesrepublican.com.
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