CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Grant funding will help the University of Virginia and Albemarle County Public Schools in their work to redress youth educational inequities in the region.

According to a release, the UVA Equity Center and ACPS received a $650,000 2023 Institutional Challenge Grant, which will provide funding over the next three years to support research and programs connecting students in the BIPOC Community and students from economically disadvantaged homes with their desires to attend college or trade school.

This funding comes from the William T. Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through a national competition that aims to help universities and community organizations work together to reduce inequalities in youth outcomes.

“We are excited to work with ACPS to ensure our local students have access to robust college and career-focused programming and opportunities,” said Ben Allen, executive director of the Equity Center, part of UVA’s Karsh Institute of Democracy.

The release says this funding will allow the Equity Center and ACPS to pursue joint research to address inequalities facing local youth as well as strengthen relationships between UVA, ACPS and other community partners.

This will include designing research questions, conducting research projects relevant to the needs of students and their families, and providing funding that can be used to formulate and change policy and practice.

This work will take place through the existing Starr Hill Pathways programs, which is a free, year-round college and career readiness program available for students in seventh to 12th grades in Albemarle County.

The program provides hands-on career exploration by working with area organizations, business leaders, and UVA faculty in a variety of fields.

“As students transition to high school, it is important to support them in identifying as early as possible their life passions, their career interests and the skills and training that empowers success,” said Daphne Keiser, assistant superintendent for school and community engagement at ACPS. “Starr Hill Pathways does this by helping to provide students with relevant, engaging learning experiences. Our students become more excited about learning, more engaged with the business community, are able to explore a wide range of career options and become fully immersed in their future.”