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ACTC receives final installment of Credits Count STEM grant

ASHLAND, Ky. — On Sept. 27, Kentucky Power presented the final installment of an $815,000 five-year American Electric Power Foundation grant to Ashland Community and Technical College.

Since the first installment, ACTC has worked with Lawrence County schools to expand STEM offerings and dual credit options. About 2,500 students benefited from the grant. The project is designed to reach students as early as middle school to nurture their interests in STEM careers.

As they advance, Credits Count helps them earn college credits or career certifications by the time they finish high school.

The grant installment totaled $185,257 and was presented during a Day of STEM Exploration with more than 200 middle school students in collaboration with the Kentucky Science Center. Kentucky Power engineers also facilitated an electricity workshop for students during the event.

The Credit Counts grant provides for middle school STEM experiences to engage students as early as possible in college exploration for STEM-related careers; college course readiness assessments to identify gaps in writing, math and reading that may need tutoring support; a summer bridge program to provide any needed English and math remediation prior to students entering the dual enrollment program; and dual enrollment in high school and at ACTC.

Mia Brown, ACTC’s project director for Credits Count, said efforts to raise interest and awareness in STEM careers and technologies is leading to significant student gains.

“Data show that after learning about more than 100 new careers and technologies in STEM, student interest in STEM has risen 33 percent, while student disinterest in STEM has decreased 22 percent,” Brown said. “We have created a successful STEM model that connects middle school STEM exploration to college readiness preparation and early college opportunities. It is an exciting time for Credits Count students.”