ST. CLOUD - Governor Mark Dayton signed a budget bill last month that included money to help at-risk students in the St. Cloud area school district.

$1.5 million was signed into law for the Sanneh Foundation, a nonprofit that supports students who are at risk of dropping out or failing to graduate. A portion of the money will be used this fall for District 742 to hire three staff members at each of their secondary schools.

The full-time youth workers will work directly in matched partnerships with low-performing students.

"We're looking at students who are at risk of dropping out, we will be constructing a list of students that may benefit from that support," says Joni Olson, the executive director of student achievement for District 742.

The money intends to help schools reduce their achievement gap. The workers will help students keep connected to their school community, attend class and keep on track for graduation.

"Their job description is somewhat of a coach and mentor. So they will be providing tutoring services during the school day and they will be working in classrooms to provide support," Olson says.

The Sanneh Foundation is based in St. Paul and it was created to serve youth development needs of young people from communities of color and low-income families.