• New 4-H Audience Engagement – For almost half of the three hundred participants, ISA is their first encounter with 4-H, and the experience serves as a catalyst for continued involvement in the program.
• College Experience – Participants explore what college is like by staying overnight in the residence hall and practicing independence.
For the past three years Illinois 4-H has made changes to the program to its promotion strategy in order to make it accessible to youth from urban and underrepresented communities. The following adjustments have resulted in an increase in participation by students of color and students who would be first in their households to attend college. • In 2016, Illinois 4-H created and funded a program scholarship called the Trailblazers Scholarship . This scholarship invited aspiring students to apply for financial support to attend the Illini Summer Academies by describing their experiences as trailblazers. Considerations for the scholarship include: a) identification with a community underrepresented in a career field matching one of the offered academies; b) demonstrations of membership in a household where no member ha previously earned at least a bachelor’s degree; c) evidenc e of financial need (such as free or reduced-price lunch eligibility).
• In 2017, Illinois 4-H extended its program promotion beyond the usual channels and created opportunities for city schools to sponsor enrollment for small groups of their students.
• Also in 2017, Illinois 4-H developed a partnership with the TRIO Talent Search Program to offer ISA as a culminating summer experience for their program participants.
• In 2019, participants in the Juntos college readiness program were offered financial support to attend ISA.
• Also in 2019, Illinois 4-H extended the ISA program from three days to five and introduced workshop topics entitled S.L.A.A.Y. (Success for Latino and African American Youth ), where students meet with campus staff of color and discuss issues and opportunities impacting minority students attending public and predominantly white institutions.
How Illinois State CES attracts, develops, retains, and structures competent talent:
As related to professional development of staff, Illinois 4-H adjusted staffing positions, job descriptions and pattern to meet urban needs, recruited people with appropriate urban competencies and experiences, often from non-traditional places, and offered special and specific training to their staff. Some examples are:
• Illinois 4-H created thirteen Metro Educator positions, to be located across the state in counties with an urban population of 50,000 or greater. These positions were created on the heels of a major staff
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