PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Community Outreach Coalition (COC) is getting $2,535,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to provide five years of services to help local youth and adults continue their education on the path to college. 

The Community Outreach Coalition is the only nonprofit organization in Virginia to receive a federal education opportunity center grant. In addition to an Educational Talent Search (ETS) grant, the money will help COC to help support low-income, first-generation students to prepare for college.  

The Community Outreach Coalition participates in one of the federal TRIO programs, called Educational Talent Search.  

“As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage both youth and adults from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like Educational Opportunity Center and Educational Talent Search take on new importance because they continue to help students who are low-income and first-generation to earn college degrees,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. 

The Educational Talent Search program identifies and assists low-income middle and high school students in the Portsmouth school system who have the potential to succeed in higher education.  

COC also has a non-profit educational opportunity center program that provides adult learners with counseling, information about college admissions, and navigating educational opportunities and options.

At least two-thirds of the students in the COC’s talent search program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor’s degree.

“The Board Members and staff of the Community Outreach Coalition are excited to support youth and adults in the four cities we will serve by offering support that will allow them to develop and meet sustainable career goals in the future.” says Kendra Robinson, the executive director and founder of the Community Outreach Coalition.

Residents in Portsmouth, Suffolk, Norfolk and Franklin interested in enrolling in post-secondary education, completing their GED, or learning a new trade are encouraged to apply to COC’s programs. The link to apply can be found here. There is no submission deadline.