In 2018, IPSI received its second GEAR UP Partnership grant award from the U.S. Department of Education, for UT GUIDES: GEAR UP for Industry Development and Educational Success. This grant added four new districts to the UTGU roster, two of which are located in rural areas of Deep East Texas. Two districts served in the 2017 TCB grant – Lockhart I SD and San Marcos CISD – were also included in GUIDES as a means of extending GEAR UP support into additional grade levels. In addition to the services provided by the TC grant, UT GUIDES activities include a focus in the following areas:
• Providing students pathways to recognized postsecondary credentials, career skills that align with in-demand sectors, work-based learning, rigorous coursework such as AP and dual-enrollment college courses, and certifications in Geometry in Construction, Construction Science, Geoscience, Accounting and Computer Science, etc.;
• Supporting educators with professional development in technology/STEM integration, instructional improvement, assessment, and ensuring that students have college- and job-ready skills that align with in-demand fields.
• Conducting outreach activities in an effort to enhance education and awareness about the value of college education within GEAR UP communities.