PUEBLO — Often times, youth serving sentences in facilities do not have access to college education, ultimately falling behind in society once released.
Colorado State University Pueblo is helping change that.
“Every student deserves an education,” said Kathryn Starkey, the Adult Learning Lead Specialist at the university.
CSUP was approached by Colorado's Division of Youth Services about a year and a half ago, asking for help starting a program that would allow youths in their facilities long-term a way to get college credits. In the last year, the program has taken off. Over 20 students in facilities all across Colorado are actively taking courses through CSUP.
“Obtaining a college degree is going to be more important as more jobs are requiring at least an associates, or a bachelors, or some kind of certificate," said Starkey. "Our goal is to help get them along that path.”
Director of DYS Anders Jacobson utilizing the time that students are in the facilities for education is direly important to their success when the student get out.
"Our calling in the division of youth services is not to punish, it's to support and grow young people," said Jacobson. "They're going to be a neighbor of mine and they're going to be a neighbor of yours."
The program is completely paid for by the state and provides the student with textbooks and other learning resources. Starkey says some of the most popular courses with students so far have been English, Psychology, and Management.
Jacobson encourages other states to "get creative" and implement more opportunities for their youth in facilities, in order to "better our community."