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Project Title:Green 2 Gold Work ProgramInstitution Name:Kentucky State University Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Arthur McKee, Employment Services LiaisonContact Information:(502) 597-5555, arthur.mckee@kysu.eduWebsite:
Project Description:KSU’s Green 2 Gold Work Program was established primarily to assist students who have structural financial deficits each semester which were created when their available financial aid (including their family contribution) was less than the costs of attending the institution. This university-sponsored program differs from traditional financial aid work programs, such as Federal Work Study.  In addition to the direct financial benefits of the program, students gain many personal intangibles that will enhance their success rate when they enter the job market. The value-added benefits include resume training, job performance counseling, internship opportunities and potential permanent employment.
Objectives:The Green 2 Gold Work Program provides students who meet the criteria an opportunity to earn up to $1,800 per semester to pay against their respective university expenses. Program criteria include a 2.0 GPA, a current financial aid debt balance, and a requirement that they apply for and make the most of their financial aid resources. Some of the students are placed in positions off campus—(public and nonprofit organizations) at no cost to the organization. The employer keeps track of time worked and forwards the record to the university. This is an area that KSU would like to expand.  Staff in the Career Placement Office counsel, observe, and supervise the students regularly throughout the semester. Other objectives of the program include:  providing knowledge to students about the processes and nuances of acquiring and succeeding in a job; exposing students to more internship and post-graduation full-time employment opportunities; and increasing students’ engagement in community service activities through providing a “free” workforce to organizations who participate in Green 2 Gold. The Green 2 Gold Work program is an alternative to the Federal Work Study (FWS) program for students who do not have access to FWS, as long as they meet the criteria. 
Outcomes:

Student participation has grown over the two years that this program has been in operation.      

SEMESTER  

STUDENT PROGRAM PARTICIPATION  

Fall  2010

64

Spring 2011

82

Summer 2011

18

Fall 2011

90

Spring 2012

101

TOTAL  

355 


KSU is projecting that approximately $300,000 will have been expended on the program in its first full two years. Anecdotally, the program appears to have led to a reduction in the number of students whom stopped out of the university due to financial reasons. KSU’s Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness has quantitatively demonstrated that finances play a dominant role in student persistence at KSU. This program is funded from institutional student financial aid resources realized from a percentage of tuition increases over the past four years which are dedicated to financial aid, and through an internal reallocation of existing resources. 

Challenges/Problems Encountered:Many of the issues that have been encountered have been centered on logistics, such as difficulty in getting students to off campus placements, coordinating class schedules, and ensuring that program demands are not counterproductive to student success. Another issue that KSU students in the program encounter is a lack of discretionary money for day-to-day expenses at the place employment. In one response to this issue, city officials, at the request of the university, now allow KSU students to ride public transportation free. The issue of the lack of discretionary money has not been fully resolved. Career Placement Office staff monitor students’ academic performance for slippage.
Evaluation Approach:The evaluation process at this point simply consists of ensuring that students who are eligible for the program perform to a “Code of Commitment” that they sign upon entering the program. That document outlines various performance areas relating to the employment and to their academic progress. Both persistence and graduation rates of program participants are expected to significantly increase as the program matures.
Potential for Replication:At KSU, the Green 2 Gold program is an extension of the Career Placement Office. Because this program resides in the Career Placement Office, a student becomes involved with this office before it traditionally would impact the student. Most KSU students who utilize the Career Placement Office start that association in the spring of their sophomore year. A Green 2 Gold Program participant may contact the office in the second semester of his/her freshman year. The contacts made by this office in its traditional role are utilized to place Green 2 Gold students in positions on and off campus.  The Financial Aid Office at KSU, like at other institutions, handle traditional financial aid programs (like FCWS).  For the Green 2 Gold Program to function properly, the Financial Aid office and the Career Placement Office must work together. The extent to which these two offices at other universities can share/coordinate activities toward a “Green 2 Gold” program, will largely determine program effectiveness at other institutions.
Additional Resources:Green 2 Gold Helps Students Develop Work Ethic, Pay Bills(February 2012).
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Mary Evans Sias , Presidentmary.sias@kysu.edu
(502) 597-6260
Date Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012