New Grant Enables Students to Fill Georgia’s In-Demand Careers
July 15, 2013 - Technical colleges in Georgia have long offered affordable pathways to careers, and that trend continues this fall with the introduction of the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant (SIWDG).
Georgia legislators identified three high-demand careers in the state and created the grant to encourage students to enter those fields: Commercial Truck Driving (CTD), Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and Practical Nursing.
“I am extremely grateful that our students have this opportunity to be assisted in completing their education, which will hopefully allow them to secure a better future for themselves, their families and our patients,” said Jennifer Corner, STC Practical Nursing program director.
To receive the SIWDG, students must be HOPE Grant-approved and fully admitted to a Georgia technical college. The grant provides a one-time benefit of $1,000 to CTD students and $500 to ECCE and Practical Nursing students. Students enrolled in those programs but taking eight credit hours or fewer receive $250.
“With this grant our program will be much more affordable for all,” said Ricky Strange, Southeastern Tech’s CTD program director. “We are already seeing more interest in the program as word of the grant gets out.”
The programs chosen to benefit from the grant were selected, according to the legislature, because they provide for high-demand careers. This is true, but each of STC’s program heads has a more nuanced view.
“We think the length of the program was a big factor in choosing it,” said Strange. “In seven to eight weeks, a person can be trained and get a job starting at $45,000 and up.”
“I believe the nursing programs were chosen for the SIWDG due to the high demand for qualified nurses to ensure quality healthcare,” said Corner. “It is vital to ensure there are enough nurses to care for the aging population, especially since the nursing shortage is expected to worsen.”
“The Early Childhood program was chosen because there is a demand for childcare providers in our area and in the state of Georgia,” said Kay Wilson, ECCE instructor at STC-Swainsboro. “The rules and regulations are changing for childcare providers and more people have to continue their education to keep up their credentials.”
All the instructors did share at least one sentiment, however: sign up now, because spots are being filled. As word of the grant spreads, more and more people are realizing the opportunity the SIWDG creates.
“The state has recognized there is a need for providers, and now there is a way to gain some compensation for going back to college,” said Wilson. “I tell potential students, ‘With these grant monies, you are being rewarded for continuing your education.’”
For more information on the SIWDG and grant eligibility, visit www.southeasterntech.edu or call 912-538-3100 or 478-289-2200.