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Community Outreach Program receives Entergy Texas grant

As a result of the long-standing partnership to focus on low-income initiatives, the Entergy Texas Charitable Foundation has awarded a grant to the Lamar University Community Outreach Program to develop a needs assessment study for rural areas of Southeast Texas. Elton Payne, the outreach program manager, will engage experts at the LU Center for Public Policy Studies to conduct the study targeting the predominantly rural areas of Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Jasper, Chambers, Polk, Tyler, Liberty and Newton counties.

The mission of the outreach program is to provide leadership development to empower individuals and families with knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and skills needed to achieve personal, social and economic self-sufficiency, and to enhance the neighborhoods and communities in which they reside. The study will assess the personal, financial, health and wellness and other safety and security needs of selected individuals and families in the region.

“This project will be an economic development tool that will provide a snapshot of the families and services available in our community,” said Payne. “This study will be used as a framework for new and existing programs to assess their outcomes, provide the foundation for strategic planning for the creation of new programs that will help to move families from poverty to self-sufficiency.”

The project will identify specific needs and produce data to support the programs and services of non-profit, for-profit, and citizen advocacy organizations and municipalities serving the citizens of the nine counties in the study. A final report, available online and on compact disk, will be developed as a resource to inform and guide area agencies in program planning.

The study will enlist the service of undergraduate students from the LU Department of Political Science’s honors American government course, the advanced research methods course as well as seeking the assistance of graduate students from the master of public administration program to conduct related research.