On Friday, April 15, Dunwoody College of Technology student Tiara Hill testified before a Minnesota State Senate committee on behalf of the College’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) to provide background on a bill that would give grants to pilot programs in Ramsey County focused on serving girls of color.
The awarded grants would be used to:
- Increase the academic success of girls of color.
- Reduce suspensions in public elementary and secondary schools.
- Increase on-time high school graduation rates.
- Encourage their pursuit of a postsecondary education program.
If awarded the grant, the recipient organization would develop a model program that other counties in the Twin Cities metropolitan area can replicate and use.
YCAP: a model for success
Since 1988, Dunwoody’s YCAP program has been a model for enhancing career opportunities for under-represented youth by empowering them to graduate from high school. Its goal is to provide more females and students of color who come from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to attend college. Since its start, YCAP has assisted more than 1,250 students.
YCAP begins with a six-week summer camp where high school juniors and seniors get the chance to explore technical career opportunities and take college-readiness courses.
After the summer camp, YCAP offers a supplemental scholarship to assist with tuition, books, supplies, and technology fees for students choosing to attend Dunwoody.
Ninety six percent of YCAP students graduate from high school and 85% go on to a post-secondary education at Dunwoody. With these success rates, it’s no wonder the Legislature was interested in learning more about it to help form their upcoming decision.
Hill testifies in state Senate
Hill was excited to speak on behalf of YCAP to support this bill because she felt that without the YCAP scholarship, she wouldn’t have been able to attend college.
Hill was accepted into Dunwoody’s YCAP program in 2015 and will earn her Welding Technology certificate in May 2016.
“I didn’t have the option to go to college due to my finances,” Hill said. “[YCAP] gave me that chance, and I think that this bill will give a lot of other women in my situation a chance, too.”
Of the opportunity to testify before the Senate committee, Hill said: “It was amazing! I think that was the first time I had ever been scared, happy and excited all at once!”
After graduation, Tiara plans to come back to Dunwoody to complete a degree in Machine Tool Technology and get more involved in her field of study.
“But my huge goal is to give back to Dunwoody,” Tiara said. “I want to provide people with scholarships to attend school here. I truly enjoyed every moment here, and I am looking forward to next year.”