State officials have launched a new program to hire 200 current college students and recent college graduates to provide tutoring and other educational services to students in grades K-12.

As of last week, three area school districts — Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, Camden County Schools and the Perquimans County Schools — were among the 12 that initially signed up for the N.C. Education Corps program, according to a press release.

According to state officials, the NC Education Corps is an initiative of the State Board of Education, Office of the Governor, local school districts, and the N.C. Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. The program is a response to the impact COVID-19 is having on schools, particularly as many students struggle to keep up with learning.

The NC Education Corps will provide emergency relief to school districts by employing community residents — including current college students and recent graduates who’ve either lost their job or experiencing financial hardship — to provide students with tutoring, help navigating technology and other assistance.

Corps members will be hired in December to begin work with school districts in January. They’ll serve with schools for six months, receiving ongoing training and support. They’ll also earn a “living wage as compensation for their valuable time,” the press release states.

VolunteerNC, a part of the N.C. Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, will help with recruitment and administration of the program.

Education Corps members will be paid by the local school district for whom they work. Districts can pay the cost with funds from North Carolina’s share of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, a part of the federal CARES Act.

The final application deadline is Dec. 7. To learn more about the program or to apply, visit www. nceducationcorps.org.