Welcome to the NCCEP newsroom!  Click on the links below to read the latest news from NCCEP and GEAR UP. 

Congratulations to the 32 students from Norwood High School who committed to attend UC Blue Ash College during the College Signing Day event on April 27.

This is the largest group of students from Norwood High to commit to UC Blue Ash at the College Signing Day event since it was created in 2015.

The special day is a chance to celebrate all of the high school seniors who plan to attend college or enter the military. The students go to the stage in the large Norwood Middle School auditorium, state their pledge that this is the first step in their path to success, and then officially signing their pledge. Parents, friends and fellow classmates are there to cheer them on.

The group attending UC Blue Ash was much larger than any other college or university represented at the event. Part of the reason is the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant.

It may be the slowest race held at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, but that doesn't make it less exciting or important.

The Utah Greenpower Race includes ten Utah high schools and middle schools. They get a kit with parts to build an electric car, but they have to design it and build it themselves.

On race day, the goal is to see who can go the furthest on the car's battery in a certain amount of time.

The real goal of the program is to inspire students to think about careers in engineering and develop skills that help in any field.

Alex Stevens, a junior at Manti High School, said the hardest part had nothing to do with constructing the car.

"I think one of the most challenging parts for this team is learning how to talk to people, to get sponsors to help pay," Stevens said. "We all know how to do things on the car, but none of us are very good at talking."

Utah State University organizes the race, which gets funding from an international organization called Greenpower, and the Siemens corporation.

In North Carolina, some GEAR UP students recently visited the College of The Albemarle to learn more about cutting edge technology that prepares students for high-tech manufacturing jobs. Students enjoyed the experience and it sparked career ideas.

Wilson High School held their annual College Day program on Tuesday.

The event celebrated graduating seniors with all the excitement of a pep rally and the enthusiasm of National Signing Day. Wilson’s College Day is sponsored by GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). Some 15 college and university representatives were on campus as well with letters of intent.

Like last year, the atmosphere was celebratory, spirited, and collegiate. Sen. Maggie Glover served as guest speaker.

In addition to GEAR UP participants signing letters of intent, Wilson High School guidance counselor John Davis announced where the seniors plan to attend, with a listing of some 26 selected colleges and universities in both North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as other states.

GEAR UP offers the students, families, educators, and communities of selected S.C. middle and high schools services that promote academic achievement and college awareness. SC GEAR UP is federally funded by the US.. Department of Education and administered by the S.C. Commission on Higher Education.

At John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the class of 2020 is part of the GEAR UP program. The student journal, the Kennedy Torch, highlighted how GEAR UP will help them prepare for education after high school.

The Dean of Admissions at Penn noted that nobody benefits from cutting programs that support students. Programs like GEAR UP and TRIO are critical to help low-income students overcome barriers in their education.

In West Virginia, the West Virginia GEAR UP Career Academy is taking place on April 13. Over 1,000 ninth graders are going to the academy to explore career fields and talk to businesses and industry leaders.

In the Washington Post, An Garagiola-Bernier noted the importance of federal programs to help low-income students succeed. She has benefited from federal support, and understands the impact it can have in helping people overcome poverty.

Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) President Mildred García recently met with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and staff to discuss issues facing higher education. García brought up the important role of GEAR UP and TRIO programs in supporting student success among students from low-income communities. García was one of the founding board members of NCCEP and we are excited that she was able to share the great work that CSUF is doing and the importance of GEAR UP programs in helping students achieve goals.

GEAR UP students from Table Rock Middle School in Burke County, North Carolina, recently visited an international furniture company. Students learned what it takes to make the furniture, including 3-D imaging and other technical work. This is one of many activities to help students decide how to plan their future.