Initiative Looks to Increase Rural Educational Advancement


WEYERS CAVE-- Blue Ridge Community College is joining in efforts in the state to increase educational advancement in rural areas.

The program is called the Rural Horseshoe Initiative. It includes several rural parts of the state, but not northern Virginia or the Tidewater area.

If the Horseshoe part of the state was made its own state, it would rank 50th in the country in educational advancement. Only 19% of people in rural parts of Virginia have bachelor's degrees or higher degrees. Those numbers are according to the Virginia Rural Horseshoe Initiative.

Blue Ridge Community College's President Dr. John Downey said one of the ways to correct that is to offer full-time career counselors at area high schools, so students know the options they have.

"If you think about it, when you're growing up, how do find out about careers? Mostly through interactions with people who you know that are doing those jobs. We need to expose young people to the type of careers that are prevalent in this area that pay really high wages, and lead to a good family life," said Downey.

The schools currently have part-time counselors, so this would increase them to full-time. The program needs private donations from organizations and the public in order to operate.


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