Nearly 100 students from across the state participating in the TRIO and Gear Up programs took part in a rally to showcase the work being done to prepare first-generation and low-income students to join Maine's workforce.
"Gear Up is about opening kids' eyes to post-secondary opportunities and that they have the confidence in order to do those kinds of things. So our students are on college visits across the state. They also do things like go to career fairs and host career fairs at their own high schools," said Christopher Young, regional facilitator for Gear up Maine.
TRIO and Gear Up, along with Upward Bound, work to remove the barriers to success low-income and undereducated families face.
Officials said the programs help break the cycle of poverty, strengthen Maine's educated workforce and reduce dependence on the state's welfare system.