Rising Manufacturing Scholars Program

Program Overview

The Kent State Tuscarawas Rising Manufacturing Scholars Program provides students from Tuscarawas County a college-access program designed to give them and their families the knowledge, rigorous academic exposure and social support they will need to be successful at a world-class university.

The program is designed to provide academic support for students who have been identified as having the potential to succeed in higher education, but are faced with economic, social and support system barriers. The program focuses on accelerating the development of awareness, interest, skills and knowledge in manufacturing and increasing the size and quality of the manufacturing talent pipeline for local companies.

Students participate as Rising Scholars from seventh through the twelfth grade, including participation in the College Credit Plus Program. During the program, students receive intensive mentoring from current Kent State Tuscarawas students. 

Program Goals

Members of the Risings Scholars watching a demonstration

The need to prepare a technically skilled, professionally trained workforce to ensure the future prosperity of Tuscarawas County could not be greater. Goals of the Rising Manufacturing Scholars Program include the following:

  • Expand access to higher education for the Tuscarawas Valley region.
  • Fill the growing need for advanced-skilled, professionally trained and dedicated employees, especially in the areas of technical and manufacturing fields, to promote economic growth.
  • Provide sponsored scholarships to cover tuition at Kent State Tuscarawas for Rising Scholars.
  • Increase high school graduation rates and improve college readiness.
  • Enhance college and postsecondary attendance in rural communities.
  • Provide academic support to students and their student mentors.

Rural students face many barriers, including generational poverty, lack of role models and insufficient academic preparation. This is clearly evident at the Kent State regional campuses, where 81 percent of students receive financial aid, much of it Pell Grants, and the majority of students require remediation.

Creating a Program for Success

Paul Dykshoorn demonstrating engineering technology

Much of the debate at the state and federal levels over high school reform has been focused on big city schools. However, more than one fifth of the nation’s 2,000 lowest performing high schools are located in rural areas. Ohio, which has the fourth largest enrollment of rural students in the country, needs to address this rural achievement gap in order to improve educational attainment and economic development. Innovative interventions are needed that will increase the high school graduation rate, enhance college readiness and improve college/postsecondary attendance in rural communities.

Research shows that for every student elevated from poverty by achieving a college degree, the return to the public on the educational investment averages seven times the original cost. 

In addition, research has highlighted increased academic performance of participating students.  The program is a win for the youth, caregivers, area school districts and local businesses. 

Kent State Tuscarawas is partnering with philanthropic champions from the community to make a positive impact and is seeking support for the Rising Scholars programming, mentor support and scholarships.

The Kent State Tuscarawas Rising Manufacturing Scholars Program is designed to give students a pathway to achieve a college degree at no cost to participants. Students who successfully complete the high school portion of the program will be eligible to apply for a Rising Scholars Scholarship at Kent State Tuscarawas.

The Kent State Tuscarawas Rising Manufacturing Scholars Program can become a model for increasing the number of rural, low-income students who pursue higher education and graduate from college.