Kilgore College has launched an important new partnership with rootEd Alliance, Inc., a collaborative philanthropic effort to clear the path to a stronger future for students in rural America. Together, KC and rootEd Alliance will promote post-secondary educational opportunities in five rural school districts in East Texas.

Nationally, only 26% of rural students graduate with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, but 80% of jobs that pay middle-class wages require education beyond high school.

To close this gap, KC is working alongside rootEd Alliance to implement a unique program that embeds success advisors in local school districts to help students pursue post-secondary education.

The success advisors will work with high school seniors to provide exposure to college and career opportunities, offer personalized advice and guidance, and connect students to available sources of financial aid. Success advisors will serve Gilmer, Gladewater, Leverett’s Chapel, Overton, and West Rusk high schools.

“Kilgore College is honored to have been chosen through a competitive process to partner with rootEd Alliance in this very important work to increase educational opportunities for rural high school students that will lead to better economic outcomes for these students, as well as for their families and communities,” said KC President Dr. Brenda Kays. “We are grateful for the visionary leadership of the superintendents in each of these school districts that will collaborate with us.”

Noa Meyer, president of rootEd Alliance, said the acute educational and economic strains on rural communities mean it is now more critical than ever to invest in the potential of rural students.

“Over the past two years, we have seen success through the rootEd model across Missouri and Tennessee, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned with rural communities in East Texas, working in partnership with Kilgore College,” Meyer said.

Stephen DuBose, Overton ISD superintendent, praised the partnership and anticipates massive benefits for his students.

“Overton ISD is truly blessed to work in partnership with Kilgore College and rootEd Alliance to provide students in OISD and the other districts composing the Northeast Texas Career and Technology Education Center with opportunities to further their education through much-needed information on financing college and career training,” DuBose said. “Small town schools are typically unable to provide the state-of-the-art programs that rootEd Alliance brings.”

rootEd Alliance, Inc. is a collaborative philanthropic effort to clear the path to a stronger future for students in rural America. With its network of partners, rootEd provides advice, exposure, and access to college and career opportunities to students in high school and college. rootEd Alliance partners with local and national organizations working to meaningfully improve postsecondary and career outcomes, so that all students in rural areas and towns can pursue their dreams. Together, these organizations form a holistic model that supports students starting in high school through college and beyond.

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