The five-year grant funds a new initiative—the University of Louisville Talent Search Program—which will help more than 500 students from six public schools in Jefferson County. The program targets middle and high school students who have the potential to succeed in college and provides them with academic, personal and career counseling.

Beneficiary high schools are Central, Fern Creek, Moore and Shawnee. Middle school beneficiaries are Moore and Western.

“This program is a great complement to our ongoing Signature Partnership initiative,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “It means we can do even more to help middle and high school students pursue the dream of a college degree.”

The program’s main focus will be to build “a college-going culture” and steer students toward such resources as academic enrichment courses, tutoring, career guidance and financial aid, said Ralph Fitzpatrick, UofL’s associate vice president for community engagement. Two new full-time counselors will help community engagement oversee and implement the program.

The federal government awards Talent Search Program grants to colleges, institutions and community organizations with experience in serving disadvantaged youth and promoting higher education.

It is one of three federally funded programs at UofL that work to encourage students from underserved populations to go to college. The other programs are GoCollege and Upward Bound. Together, the programs represent more than $6 million in grants and affect as many as 1,000 students in Jefferson County public schools.