At a work session last October, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners made plans to give $500,000 to a nonprofit organization – Shift_ed – to improve education in the county.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) money will be used to cover the personnel, marketing and administrative costs so the organization can “address barriers impacting student success from birth to career.”

On Thursday, July 13, the commissioners will make that move official with a vote.

Shift_ed is a non-profit with the stated goal of “boldly accelerating student potential.” According to promotional material from the organization, the group’s staff – along with volunteers and community partners – work together “to provide the individualized supports that each student needs to be successful from elementary school all the way to the workforce.”

Shift_ed also works to see that “evidenced-based supports reach students with the greatest need.”

“We want students to see that anything is possible and find success in their diverse educational and career pathways,” the literature states.

The $500,000 will be used to run several programs meant to do things like increase the percentage of elementary students in Guilford County Schools who read proficiently by the end of the third grade, and increase the number of middle school students in the county focusing on Career and Technical Education programs.

The initiative is also meant to help more post-secondary students graduate with 2- or 4-year degrees or certifications, as well as to improve education across the county.

Guilford County has established various measurable outcomes that school and county leaders want to see – such as “increasing the total number of students served by Shift_ed by a minimum of 10 percent annually with a beginning baseline of 12,000 students,” and “partnering with Cisco for the second year to provide students with a high aptitude for STE(A)M-related careers access to the Cisco Summer Emerging Talent Mentor Program.”

The new initiative also involves partnerships with Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) and North Carolina A&T State University.  Part of the plan is to better connect high school students interested in a “direct-to-career track” to the relevant career access programs and events at those schools.