$9.5M G.E.A.R. U.P. grant to benefit 20 west Kentucky schools

MAYFIELD, KY — $9.5 million is being added to help your kids excel in high school and better prepare for their post-secondary education.

The G.E.A.R. U.P. program — short for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs — will distribute the grant money to 20 schools from nine west Kentucky counties. That’s more than 6,000 kids.

The grant will help your kids narrow down a career path they want to follow.

It focuses more on the STEM education — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — subjects that can lead to high-paying jobs.

It’s meant to expose students in lower-income schools who wouldn’t have opportunities like this and prepare them for college.

“My teacher said ‘You’re going to see physics in everything!’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I do,'” says Mayfield High School junior Jenny Glass.

Glass fell in love with math and science at a young age. She started the Girls Who Code Club at her school to get girls more involved in computer science after school.

“It makes you think differently, and science too — it helps you think about what is around you,” Glass says. “Physics even more so. I can’t even look at a glass falling off the table without thinking ‘Oh, there’s gravity pulling it down.'”

Glass knows how important math and science are, and she knows kids get easily discouraged if they don’t understand those subjects right away.  She hopes the G.E.A.R. U.P. project will help with that.

“If we can get little places like Fulton, Mayfield, Ballard, those kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go into any field they wanted to, it can affect everything about them from here on,” Glass says.

Grant writing director Todd Warren says exposure to more subjects like computer science is crucial.

He says it’ll help students in west Kentucky compete against the world.

“We’ll be working with our three regional universities with dual credit courses,” Warren says. “We’ll be working with our area technology centers to pursue careers and certifications in areas that have not always been available for the high school studen. It was always post-secondary.”

Warren says they will also be working with middle school students.

“I’ll be able to help kids with that, and it’s really exciting for me.” Glass says.

Check out the document below for more information on the G.E.A.R. U.P. services.