Community Work-Study Program

March 24, 2015

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is committed to the programmatic use of Federal Work-Study (FWS) funds to address local community needs. The Community Work-Study Program currently places 18% of all FWS positions in community settings, with a targeted goal of 25% in the next two years. A full-time Coordinator for Community Work Study oversees program development and implementation.

The IUPUI Center for Service and Learning began an America Reads tutoring in 1997. Annually, more than 60 IUPUI college students serve over 350 preschool and elementary students with one-on-one tutoring at eight community sites. Youths receiving this tutoring assistance demonstrate an average increase of 1.4 reading levels each year. In January 2003, the Center for Service and Learning expanded its Federal Work-Study-based service programming with the America Counts program. In its pilot semester, this program connected eight IUPUI students with over 60 middle school students who were struggling with mathematics. The combined efforts of IUPUI’s America Reads and America Counts programs helped college students contribute more than 15,000 hours of service in the 2002-2003 academic year. In Fall 2003, the Community Work-Study Program will launch Hispanic tutoring and family literacy initiatives.

While these programs allow IUPUI to contribute in a systematic way to the community, they also provide students with opportunities for growth. All Community Work-Study Programs provide a comprehensive orientation and ongoing training opportunities throughout the year. These trainings incorporate reflection, professional growth, and training in the program’s focus area. Through the opportunity to become engaged in the community and the structured trainings and reflections, IUPUI students become better prepared for their careers and more interested in serving their communities. Over 85% of IUPUI students involved in the America Reads program say that their interest in serving their community increased through their work. IUPUI Reading Coaches also report that their involvement helps them develop academically (60%), professionally (87%), and personally (93%).

In the fall 2003, IUPUI added the Family Literacy Program and the Hispanic Reading Initiative to this program. The Family Literacy Program works with families currently served by the Indy Reads adult literacy program through enrichment activities and tutoring. The Hispanic Reading Initiative places IUPUI students with Hispanic children in preschool through 6th grade in schools or after school programs. Tutors help children retain their Spanish skills and gain new skills and knowledge of the English language.

Contact: Meg Easter-Dawson,

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) - IN, Indiana
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