San Antonio’s east side officially became a federal “Promise Zone” Thursday.

Community and business leaders said the additional resources headed their way will help the community alleviate the poverty in the area.

The initiative will partner federal agencies with local community and business leaders to create jobs, expand educational opportunities, increase access to affordable housing and improve public safety on the east side.

“This is a high-risk community, a community in need,” said Art Hall, dean of continuing education at St. Philip’s College. “This gives us more opportunity to reach out to those students who are high-risk, that typically do not go straight into college."

The designation also means additional resources for east side schools.

The program aims to increase enrollment in high-quality pre-K programs, installing a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focus in the district, expand enrollment in Early College Programs and improve adult education opportunities.

Mateen Diop, executive director of Projects and Partnerships at SAISD, said a good education is one of the best tools at breaking the cycle of poverty.

With this grant we're able to focus on the economic side of a student’s life,” he said. “If we can make that side of their lives better than when they come to the classroom we'll have an easier time getting them where they need to be academically.”

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