Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal grant-funded partnership program reaching multiple grade levels and supporting students through a seven-year period.

In affiliation with CFES Brilliant Pathways and other partners across the country, GEAR UP is committed to increasing college and career preparation for low-income students.

Awarded in 2018, the $11.6 million GEAR UP grant assists CFES Brilliant Pathways in providing direct services to 2,075 students and their families in seven districts throughout New York state’s Adirondack region. The CFES GEAR UP services follow the student cohort as they grade up each year.

  • Ausable Valley Central School District (9th grade)
  • Beekmantown Central School District (3rd-9th grade)
  • Crown Point Central School District (3rd-9th grade)
  • Malone Central School District (8th-9th grade)
  • Moriah Central School District (3rd-9th grade)
  • Ticonderoga Central School District (3rd-9th grade)
  • Willsboro Central School District (3rd-9th grade)

Emphasizing the significance of college and career readiness through partnerships with colleges, businesses and non-profits, the CFES GEAR UP program supports efforts to increase the number of students that prepare for and obtain a postsecondary education.

Our 5 GEAR UP goals are:

  • Increase students’ academic performance and postsecondary preparation.
  • Increase students’ high school graduation rate and postsecondary participation.
  • Increase GEAR UP family knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.
  • Create or expand opportunities for students to obtain recognized postsecondary credentials in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science.
  • Foster knowledge and to promote the development of skills that prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, and productive individuals and citizens.

CFES Brilliant Pathways integrates its three-pronged approach to helping students achieve pathway success through the CFES Core Practices: Essential Skills™, Mentoring and Pathways to College and Career.

July 2021
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Benefits of CFES GEAR UP

GEAR UP Students and Families

  • Mentoring
  • Tutoring
  • Guidance to develop their personalized pathway map to college and career
  • Training and support in developing the Essential Skills
  • Access to rigorous STEM courses along with STEM out of school time programs
  • Training in financial literacy
Students in schools

Teachers and Schools

  • High quality professional learning opportunities
  • Resources to support STEM Curriculum Development / STEM exposure, including a stipend
  • Opportunities to participate in national and regional learning communities
  • CFES Brilliant Pathways GEAR UP staff assigned to each school
  • Resources to support out of school learning opportunities for students
  • Compensation for tutors
  • Parental engagement support
CFES partners


  • A streamlined approach to engage with local schools to promote Career and College Pathways
  • Exposure to help build a pipeline to future employment
  • Employee engagement in meaningful activities with local youth
  • Nation-wide partnership exposure