Small towns. Big impact.
We start with schools, but we don't stop there: CEN engages whole communities to reinvigorate education, revitalize local economies, and reimagine what's possible for rural America. We're preparing rural communities to connect and thrive in a fast-moving future.
Communities in Crisis
Rural schools educate 20% of America’s students—but the vast majority of education resources and innovation are focused in urban areas
-Randy Burks, Superintendent, Hamlin Collegiate ISO
New technology—such as artificial intelligence and automation—is reshaping the workplace. Students in rural settings need the right education and training to lead themselves and their communities to a brighter future:
training for technical jobs
for problem-solving, collaboration, and presentation skills
for analytical and creative thinking, giving students the skills to adjust to unpredictable, real-time changes in the real world
Apprenticeships and internships
to cultivate a local talent pool in rural communities
to help students guide their own communities to future success
Students and Families
Young people deserve real choices when it comes to where they live and how they work. We prepare students for college and career success, increasing their earning potential and expanding their options. We believe:
- All means ALL: EVERY student deserves a life of choice, prosperity, productivity, and self-actualization.
- High school graduation is a waypoint, not a stopping point: Students earn college degrees and industry certifications to launch satisfying, high-wage, high-demand careers.
- Education is a lifelong endeavor: We're here for our students from the moment they set foot in a Pre-K classroom to the day they graduate from college and launch their careers. Our alumni stay connected to CEN, often mentoring the next generation of students.
Superintendents and Teachers
Small-town educators are passionate about improving outcomes for their students—and it is not easy to access the resources they need to do so. Here's how we help:
- Partnership: We help rural districts access and navigate resources for dual credit programs, work- and project-based learning, 1:1 student support, professional development, additional funding, and more.
- Programming: We develop and distribute initiatives designed specifically for rural schools, including Edu-Businesses and local STEM research.
- Peer networks: We harness the power of our network for collective purchasing, legislative voice, and peer sharing. Together, we're helping rural districts innovate, collaborate, and catalyze change for their community.
Businesses & Communities
CEN connects talented young people to local industries through place-based research and work-based learning, strengthening the bond between communities and schools and creating new pathways for rural economic growth.
- Rural roots: CEN was developed in rural communities, for rural communities. We understand the unique challenges and defining strengths of small towns.
- 2-way engagement: CEN schools invite the community to participate actively in the school, through guest lectures, research projects, internships, and advising on program design.
- Local talent development: Local employers mentor and train the next generation, reducing rural "brain drain" and sidestepping the difficulties of attracting and retaining new talent.
We take a comprehensive approach to education, engaging whole communities in an effort that continues from the first day of Pre-K to the launch of a meaningful career.
Explore the P20 model