A new partnership between the Rome City School District and the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is expected to increase graduation rates for at-risk students.

The joint effort will bring the nationally recognized Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection to Rome.

The program helps students overcome learning barriers while connecting them to work opportunities.

It's expected to decrease drop out rates and increase graduation rates in the school district.

60 Rome Free Academy freshmen will take part in the program during the upcoming school year.

The Community Foundation invested $95,000 in start up funding for Hillside to come to Rome.