Utah Women and Education Project at UVU Partners with 2-1-1
October 7, 2010
For Immediate Release
For more information: Susan Madsen (801) 376-5908
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Karissa Neely (801) 863-6351
Lead researchers with the Utah Women and Education Project, hosted at Utah Valley University, announced today that they have partnered with 2-1-1 Information and Referral, a program of the Utah Food Bank, in a combined effort to bring more online educational resources directly to women around the state.
Wading through the sometimes-confusing path to college overwhelms many. This partnership, with its Web access and call center, provide increased support and resource recommendations to help make the transition to college more manageable.
“One of the things we looked at when starting the Utah Women and Education Project was the online resources available to help women in Utah who want to attend college. Although each college campus has great online information, we decided it would be valuable to partner with 2-1-1 to develop an extensive database to help Utah women and those who assist them — like high school counselors, parents, religious youth leaders, etc.,” said Susan Madsen, UVU associate professor of management and director of the Utah Women and Education Project. “Many women don’t know where to go to find this information, or even what questions to start asking. While collecting data is our main task, it is important to provide this resource to Utah citizens.”
The purpose of the two-year project is to better understand the decline in percentages of Utah women enrolling in colleges and universities. Madsen and her team have collected research data from these targeted populations and hope to inform and influence more Utah women to enter college and obtain postsecondary degrees.
Madsen and a team of more than 20 interns, students and volunteers started researching and organizing the information for their own database. But when the Utah Food Bank offered to integrate the Utah Women and Education Project information into their existing 2-1-1 Information and Referral database, Madsen jumped at the chance.
“This is one of the things we are most excited about. Previously, 2-1-1 had little education info, but we’ve opened it up and expanded it,” said Nicolle Johnson, database coordinator for the project.
“Before our partnership, the 2-1-1 database had very few educational resource links available,” Johnson said, pointing to the education page on the www.211ut.org Web site that now has over 70 different links to specific education needs or programs. “These are all new links that we have contributed to their database and they include resources within higher education as well as school districts and high schools throughout the state. And because [the study] is only a two-year project, creating sustainable access to these resources is important. Our partnership with 2-1-1 gave us this ability.”
The job was not easy. Johnson has been working specifically with Madsen on the Women and Education Project since it began in May 2009, and said that nearly 75 percent of her time over the last 12 months has been spent working on this aspect of the project. She personally feels this part is vital for women, especially non-traditional students like her.
“I wish I had these resources available to me when I went back to school at age 30,” she said.
Anyone can dial 2-1-1 and be instantly connected to a live person, and get information on housing, healthcare, food, and now, education. Residents can also visit their Web site to find links to GED programs, colleges, financial aid programs, admissions offices, school district offices, etc. It also links Utahns to the UtahFutures.org site, which, according to Madsen, “is an amazing educational resource for all students, future students, and those who assist them.”
For more information on educational resources, visit www.211ut.org, or www.uvu.edu/wep.