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About Us

Mission & History


Avenue Scholars, the leader in bridging the gap between education and business, guarantees careers for our youth of hope and need through supportive relationships, individualized coaching, education, and training.


Integrity: do the right thing.
Respect: earn it and give it.
Inspiration: to be inspired and to inspire.
Hope: belief in the future.
Quality: what we do, we do well.
Service: serve and serve in excellence.


Established in 2019 as an initiative of the Charles E. Lakin Foundation and originally founded as Career EdVantage Southwest Iowa, the organization's named changed in 2022 to reflect the partnership with Avenue Scholars and is now known as Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa. 

Since becoming the first expansion of Avenue Scholars, it has created a diverse model that can serve both in urban and rural communities. Avenue Scholars has proven promising practices from large, urban Midwest. Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa has utilized those promising practices and insights and crafted a model that excels in smaller cities and towns in the rural Midwest.

Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa has created teams of school districts and embedded a single high school career coach to serve the schools. The district sizes, when combined, are all similar in size, which creates a strong pool of potential students. Avenue Scholars staff work alongside the school administrators and staff to ensure the Avenue Scholars coach has access to the building(s), an office, and access to student information (abiding to privacy policies). Additionally, the coach is threaded into the fabric of the school district, making our organization recognizable, a household name, and making our opportunity inescapable.

Thanks to the solid foundation from Avenue Scholars, the team in Southwest Iowa has developed this uniquely prescribed model that can adapt and serve not only urban Iowa, urban communities, but also can successfully serve rural school districts and communities. Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa is bolstering smaller school districts and communities, offering opportunities that these schools and communities might not have otherwise had, but certainly deserve.


The goal at Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa is to prepare students for a successful career in a variety of fields. Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa provides career exploration, development, internships, and full-time employment assistance for high school students of hope and need. Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa strives to change lives by ensuring that young men and women attain the skills necessary to move into a rewarding career while filling crucial employment needs throughout Southwest Iowa.

Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa is a collaborative program that assists students with career exploration, selecting a career, and the education and training necessary for success in the career. Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa will expose the students entering our program to a variety of quality career options in fields such as health care, information technology, automotive technology, trades and manufacturing, and business processes. The Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa team will coach students through the entirety of their journey, providing opportunities to experience the realities of the work world as well as learn and develop the attributes necessary to be successful in it.

What We Do

Students at desk

Students in the Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa program will work with the organization's coaches and mentors in high school, during education and training in postsecondary settings, and on into the workforce. Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa and its partners will also provide support by means of a scholarship to continue their education/training after successfully completing their Avenue Scholars Southwest Iowa high school experience.