Drury University is celebrating receipt of a federal grant that allows creation of a program for migrant workers and their families.
The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) grant will fund three full-time and three part-time staff members at Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies’ campus in Monett. The $1.94 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education is for five years.
According to the school, staff will be dedicated to identifying, recruiting and supporting students with the greatest need within the local Hispanic population. The grant will also fund classroom technology such as laptops, and living expenses such as childcare. Leadership training will also be a focus of the program, which comes through a partnership with the Monett Chamber of Commerce.
The program is called “Somos” – Spanish for “we are.” The school says the first cohort of Somos students will begin classes this month in Monett. According to Drury, faculty and staff will provide access to and training on technology, provide relevant instruction in language and math, and help students earn a bachelor’s degree. The program will encourage degree completion in STEM, business and education fields.
“I’m extremely excited about the confidence the Department of Education has in Drury and our Monett site,” said Ann Saunders, Monett campus director, in a news release. “These resources will help us make a positive imprint on the lives of many students and their families. Staff members are rolling up their sleeves and are ready to embark on this historic journey.”
The release added that a key component of Somos is “addressing the cultural barriers that exist for students whose families may prioritize the immediacy of earning a paycheck over getting a degree.”
Dr. Nichols notes significant needs in the Monett area labor force for more university-educated Spanish-speaking workers, including at management and executive levels.
A public kick-off event for the new program is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 1 at the Drury Monett campus.