GEARUP Program Officer's Networking Conference
As you know, GEARUP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education through a competitive grant process. These six-year grants support local initiatives to increase the number of economically disadvantaged children who have access to and are prepared for post-secondary education.
The inaugural GEARUP Program Officer’s Conference in 2007 provided both state and partnership GEARUP grantees with the opportunity to network, build supportive relationships and learn from one another.
The 2009 conference was attended by nearly 100 GEARUP professionals representing more than 20 programs in 12 states. While some received their first GEARUP award in 1999, others are just getting started on their initial year of GEARUP funding. And while some serve thousands of students, others work with much smaller populations. Because we are different in so many ways, our grant proposals are unique; they were written to address specific needs in our respective communities. Yet, despite our many differences, we have so much more in common. We care about students and families, and we care that students have access to and are prepared for higher education. We know that what we are doing is making a difference.
The struggles we face as GEARUP grantees are not unique. The two-day conference is an excellent chance to step away from our busy daily schedules and to take some much-needed time to "sharpen the saw" by bonding with colleagues, reflecting and ultimately emerging as a renewed, refreshed and unified group of youth-serving individuals.
During the conference, we share our collective expertise and enrich one another’s lives so that we are better equipped to empower the youth we serve. Not only our actions, but also our words, create the situations and reality we face each day. This regional conference provides a venue for us to use our words to have a positive impact on the lives of students. The ideas we exchange will serve to connect each of us in a way that increases collaboration and our ability to implement our programs.
The 4th Annual GEARUP Program Officers's Networking Conference: The Myth of the Silver Bullet
This conference will include an inspirational welcome and keynote address, presentations (by directors and staff, for directors and staff) and a riveting presentation by Ann McNeal. In addition, GEARUP staff will receive networking opportunities; face-to-face time with our USDE Program Officer, Ann McNeal; buffet style breakfasts and lunches including all-day refreshments; and optional tours, site visits and evening activities.