El Camino College’s Formerly Incarcerated Re-Entry Students Thriving (FIRST) Program Receives Rising Scholars Network Grant

May 2, 2022 Torrance, CA

El Camino College was recently awarded a Rising Scholars Network grant from the Educational Services and Support Division of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. El Camino is one of 59 colleges in the state to secure this grant designed to support students who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.

The $160,000 grant will be used to enhance the services offered by El Camino’s Formerly Incarcerated Re-Entry Students Thriving (FIRST) Program, which offers academic and basic needs support to formerly incarcerated and system-impacted students.

Funds from the grant will be used to provide dedicated academic counseling as well as success coach and advising services for students in the FIRST program. Workshops focused on career training, transfer options, and job placement will also be available, in addition to activities that advocate for and strengthen opportunities for justice-impacted students. Funding will also allow for increased recruitment, professional development, and equity programs aimed at helping El Camino’s system-impacted students reach their educational and career goals.

“Our students lead the way when it comes to our programming and offerings for what they need to be successful, from academic assistance to basic needs such as food and housing support,” said Ricky Gonzalez, coordinator of the FIRST Program and Counseling Success Coach Program. “The Rising Scholars Grant is the result of various advocacy efforts and a sign of the trust and respect that the FIRST program has earned throughout the community and, most importantly, from our students. We are incredibly thankful for this opportunity to further serve our students.”  

FIRST also offers students support groups, and other assistance to help them successfully navigate the college experience. In addition, El Camino faculty and staff can attend events and workshops throughout the year to help them gain an understanding of the needs of students in the program and learn to become an ally.

For more information about El Camino College’s Formerly Incarcerated Re-Entry Students Thriving (FIRST) Program, view, or call 310-660-6593, Ext. 7809.