Connecting America’s Rural Students with Higher Education

As debate intensifies over the future of higher education in the U.S., much of the focus has centered around the issue of racial and ethnic diversity. However, there is substantial constituency of America’s K-12 students who are going largely ignored: students from the country’s rural areas.

recent NPR piece – based on findings from The Hechinger Report – highlights this glaring issue. It is highlighted by an alarming statistic. Despite the fact that rural students graduate from high school at a greater rate than the national average, they attend college at lower rates than their urban and suburban peers.

There have been many causes attributed to this phenomenon. Mining, farming, and manufacturing jobs which used to be a hallmark of rural economies have either moved away, become automated, or shut down entirely. The result is that there are simply less opportunities in the communities these students grow up in. Paradoxically, instead of seeking out opportunities in larger cities, most rural students find themselves as products of their environment and lose hope that opportunity awaits them. Like all good sons and daughters, they also want to stay close to home.

Acknowledging this issue “is critical to our future, not just for employment but for civil discourse and kids feeling like they can contribute and achieve and not feeling lost and ignored,” says Jeff Hawkins, executive director of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, a nonprofit group which encourages students in Kentucky’s coal-mining southeast corner to go to college.

Tallo understands this challenge, and is one of our foremost priorities towards achieving educational equality in the U.S. for all students.

Tallo provides that crucial “missing link” for colleges to recruit in rural areas. Oftentimes, college recruiters are pressured to maximize their scarce time and resources. As as result, they typically visit more highly-populated areas where they can interact with the highest number of students. Rural students become “landlocked” and isolated from these opportunities. Some of America’s brightest students are going unnoticed.

Using our platform, colleges and universities can eliminate geographic boundaries and engage these rural students in an online ecosystem. Not only does this save educational institutions time and money, but it meets these young digital natives where they are: on their mobile devices which have become ubiquitous regardless of where they reside.

Tallo Spotlight: Nickie Daves

We’ve recently been spotlighting some of the incredible K-12 educators we have had the privilege of working with. These are energetic, forward-thinking, and fun individuals who have implemented the Tallo platform in their schools, districts, and counties.

Nickie Daves is a health science teacher who encourages her students to utilize Tallo to help gain access to scholarships and internship opportunities. Let’s check out what she has to say!

Nickie Daves, RN, CCRN

Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center

York School District

York, South Carolina

How did you get into education? What drew you to the profession?
I am actually a registered nurse, by trade. For Health Science, a healthcare professional is requested to teach the course. Being a nurse involves educating patients on a daily basis. I found that I really enjoyed that portion and knew that I would one day transition into education. I love seeing the light bulb going off and being able to help the learner take charge of the information that they learn. I never thought I would teach students in the secondary field, but I love it very much.

What is your favorite thing about education?
I enjoy working with the next generation of healthcare professionals. I love building the relationships with the students which will continue on in future courses.  

Tell us about your school!
I work for York School District One in the Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center. Our technology center and high school are together within the same building, which decreases many barriers that would exist if the two sections were not comprehensive. A student can leave their English class and then go straight to a building & construction class.

How is Tallo helping/will help your school or district?
It’s a wonderful asset offered to the students in the way of scholarship opportunities, internships, and showcasing their accomplishments. All sophomores and juniors are exposed to Tallo and create an account. They are encouraged to keep their accounts up-to-date and utilize them to highlight themselves for post-secondary opportunities.

Any neat stories so far?
Students are always so excited to let the staff know that certain schools have viewed their account or that they have been offered internships!

How did you implement Tallo? Are there any suggestions you would have for  other schools on how to best implement Tallo?
I teach courses within the Health Science cluster, which are classified as elective courses. Despite this, I always encourage my students to complete community service projects, continue to build their resumes, and to search constantly for scholarships. Our community has a poverty rate of over 70%, so it is imperative that students have the ability to attend schools once they are accepted. I give numerous assignments for the students to submit proof of scholarships completions to me. Most of the students go through Tallo to do so.

What is your favorite part of the system?
The ability to export all of my profile data into a ready-to-use resume.

What is the future impact that Tallo will have on your school or district?
I believe its social media-like functionality will keep it relevant with the current generation who will soon be entering the workforce. During my advisory meetings – which include healthcare members within my community – I have recommended that their companies utilize Tallo to help reduce the impact of the impending nursing shortage.

Tallo Powers SME’s SOUTH-TEC Rising Stars Day

We at Tallo always love a challenge.

In October, we were asked by our friends at SME to help them identify and connect with the top STEM and CTE high school talent in the South and invite them to apply for an inaugural recognition event called Champions of Tomorrow: Rising Stars Day – a day recognizing outstanding STEM and CTE students from South Carolina and North Carolina.

The event would occur at SME’s SOUTH-TEC – A multi-day event which attracts manufacturers, distributors and equipment builders from across the world, SOUTH-TEC is a hub of industry evolution and innovation. It also presented an excellent opportunity to shine a spotlight on these industries, and specifically on the young students of today who will be industry leaders tomorrow.

The annual event is hosted by SME in partnership with AMT, and supported by our friends at SC FutureMakers and SkillsUSA in Greenville, SC.

With over 300,000 of the best and brightest in the country on Tallo, SME knew the fastest way to find and engage students fitting to be Rising Stars was through our virtual platform.

The application process was hosted through Tallo, and was a huge success. Within a few days, SME received a large number of applications from many deserving students in North and South Carolina. On October 24, thirty-four high school juniors and seniors were honored in front of industry leaders and representatives. It was an exciting moment for both the students and professionals.

panel.jpg

The day included a panel discussion on workforce development featuring prominent leaders from both private and public sectors, including SkillsUSA Executive Director Timothy Lawrence, South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, and BMW’s Community and Government Relations Manager Max Metcalf. Also providing remarks were SME CEO Jeffery Krause and Tallo Co-Founder Casey Welch.

Tallo even helped SME design a special digital badge recognizing the Rising Stars and proudly displays on their Tallo profiles alongside their other skills, talents, and achievements.

We were proud to play a role in such a prestigious event, and we wish the best of luck to each and every student recognized as a Rising Star.

Group.jpg