BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (AUGUST 25, 2020) — Digital academic coaching company Pack Education and its partners today announce the kickoff of Ignite Powered by Pack Education, a virtual academic advising pilot program, designed to provide academic support to students at the University of South Alabama, Bishop State Community College and Coastal Alabama Community College.
Pack Education, a subsidiary to digital health coaching company Pack Health, applies a digital coaching model to academic advising to increase the graduation rate in Alabama. The innovative initiative creates infrastructure to enhance support for students who may be at high-risk of drop-out through one-on-one engagement.
“While national collegiate graduation rates stand at an average of 60 percent, only four of 27 public and private four-year institutions in Alabama meet or exceed this average,” says M’Kayl Lewis, Vice President of Member Services at Pack Education. “The extra support will be instrumental for Alabama students, particularly at a time when they’re learning to navigate a new version of college life created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Selected students will be paired with an Ignite Academic Coach during the 16-week virtual program for the Fall 2020 semester. Ignite Academic Coaches provide an average of 40 touchpoints, per student, per quarter over text messages, emails, phone calls and social media to provide focus, encouragement, and accountability. This structure provides an additional layer of support as students navigate shifting learning environments due to COVID-19.
“Sometimes students just need affirmation that they matter, someone cares about their goals, and that they are achievable,” said Alabama Community College Systems Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker. “Ignite will provide that extra attention through a meaningful mentorship in a way that students are most familiar – their phones. This one-on-one, weekly engagement will help students stay focused on achieving their individual goals, while identifying any roadblocks and providing solutions that will lead them to success.”
The Ignite program is funded by The Alabama Power Foundation, Ratliff Charitable Foundation, Regions Foundation, and Alabama Community College System. Mobile Area Education Foundation has also been an integral part of the program’s implementation. The participating schools are part of the 75,000 Degrees Talent Hub, a communitywide initiative that aims to double the number of people with postsecondary degrees by 2030.
“Ignite offers a new education lifeline for students,” said Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation, a nonprofit initiative of Regions Bank that supports community investments. “Connecting students with the tools they need, in a way that speaks to them, is key to their success. We are proud to support Ignite in removing barriers of success for college students, and giving them the keys to a brighter future.”
The completion of a college degree is directly correlated to building personal value, wealth, and improving economic development. There is extensive evidence that supports the impact of a post-secondary degree on improved employment outcomes and earning potential for individuals as much as 37%.
“The Ignite program will have the power to reach students where they are,” said Dr. Melinda Byrd-Murphy, Dean of External Funding at Coastal Alabama Community College. “Students lead busy lives and need access to academic and life coaching even when they’re not sitting on a college campus. I believe this program will help us reach more students and let them know that their success is important to us.”
Myla Calhoun, president of the Alabama Power Foundation, called the program “a powerful tool to help students succeed.”
“Ignite is an opportunity to transform the skills of the workforce in our state,” said Calhoun. “But more importantly, it creates opportunities for students by equipping them with the resources they need to set them on a path to personal and academic success.”
To learn more about the Ignite program, click here.
About Pack Education:
Pack Education is a digital academic coaching company built to improve education and career readiness with assistance and content focused on course load, financial literacy, mental health, time management, and physical health and nutrition.