Georgia's New HOPE Career Grant Provides Financial Aid Opportunities for Students

A grant that enables students at Southern Crescent Technical College and other technical education students in Georgia to receive free tuition now has a name that more accurately reflects the grant's goals.

The HOPE Career Grant, formerly known as the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant (SIWDG), is available to qualified students who enroll in select majors specifically aligned with one of 12 industries in which there are more jobs available in Georgia than there are skilled workers to fill them. These industries were identified by Gov. Nathan Deal's "High-Demand Career Initiative" and the General Assembly as strategically important to the state's economic growth.

"We continuously seek ways to help our Georgia students attain a high-quality, affordable education that leads to a productive career," Gov. Deal said. "This grant is an important piece in our tool kit of educational assets, and helps students prepare to enter those industries in the state that have the greatest workforce needs."

The grant, which was implemented in 2013 for three key industries, now benefits qualified students who enroll in the following 12 program areas: certified engineer assistant, commercial truck driving, computer programming, computer technology, diesel equipment technology, early childhood care and education, health science, industrial maintenance, movie production/set design, practical nursing, precision manufacturing, and welding and joining technology.

Southern Crescent Technical College offers several programs covered by the HOPE Career Grant including: Allied Health (including Practical Nursing, Pharmacy Technology, Surgical Technology, Phlebotomy Technician, Nurse Aide, MRI and CT Scan Specialist, Hemodialysis Technician) Computer Technology (including Computer Programming, Computer Networking, Web Site Design), Early Childhood Care and Education, Film Technology, Machine Tool Technology, Industrial Systems Technology, Commercial Truck Driving, Diesel Equipment Technology, and Welding and Joining Technology.

Dr. Alvetta Thomas, President of Southern Crescent Technical College said, "As the state tries to facilitate filling open positions in critical industries, the extra measure of assistance through the HOPE Career Grant can make a huge difference in assisting students. This is an incredible opportunity and we hope interested students will take advantage of it. If you have been thinking about pursuing a career in one of these fields, now is the time!"

“While some of the HOPE Career Grant programs offered at SCTC have been around for quite a while, such as Early Childhood Care and Education and practical nursing, others programs like Film Technology, are more recent additions in response to needs within the business community”, Thomas said.

“A Georgia student who qualifies for one of these grants pays absolutely no tuition, and in some cases the grants cover fees and equipment as well,” said Gretchen Corbin, commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, which offers more than 200 programs in the industries targeted by the grant. “This is a great opportunity for students in our 22 colleges and the Georgia companies who seek them. We believe the new name will help students understand that a rewarding career is the end goal of the grant.”

The HOPE Career Grant opportunities are open for any qualified student pursuing a certificate or diploma at a public college in Georgia, although students within the Technical College System of Georgia are the main beneficiaries. The number of certificates or diplomas in these 12 areas awarded to technical college students in the 2016 academic year was 16,514, up from 11,289 in 2013.