Gov. Nathan Deal has announced that beginning in January the state will expand its HOPE Career Grant to offer students greater career opportunities in five of Georgia’s fast-growing industries, increasing the total number of programs that qualify for this grant to 17.
“These additional fields are the result of polling of industries, talking to local businesses and speaking with economic development organizations to better understand the jobs skills needs that are unfulfilled,” Deal said.
Students who receive the HOPE Grant and who wish to study aviation maintenance, automotive technology, distribution-materials management, electrical line working or several construction-related programs will also qualify for free tuition provided by the HOPE Career Grant. This grant already offers free tuition to students pursuing certificates or diplomas in 12 other high-demand fields: 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.
Majors in the construction field that the grant will cover, starting with the 2018 spring semester in January, include air conditioning technology, carpentry, construction management, electrical construction and maintenance, masonry and plumbing.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled about this additional opportunity to connect Georgia students with the state’s growing industries,” said Gretchen Corbin, commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia. “We so appreciate Governor Deal’s support of technical education’s role in workforce development and his consistent encouragement to explore ways in which we can expand our services to Georgia students and businesses.”
Filling a need
Industries covered by the HOPE Career Grant were identified by the governor’s High-Demand Career Initiative as strategically important to the state’s economic growth.
“This is a great example of the unified approach Georgia is taking to ensure we have a strong workforce, which is the greatest need for locating and expanding companies,” said Ben Hames, assistant commissioner for workforce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
To receive the HOPE Career Grant, students must first qualify for the HOPE Grant, which applies to diplomas and certificates only rather than the HOPE Scholarship, which applies to associate and bachelor’s degrees. The HOPE Grant is available for students of any age. A student can attend college part-time and does not have to have a specific high school GPA, but must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA after enrolling in college.
While the HOPE Career Grants are open to any qualified student pursuing a certificate or diploma at a public college in Georgia, students in the state’s technical college system have been the main beneficiaries. The number of certificates or diplomas in these 12 areas awarded to technical college students in the 2017 academic year was 17,777, up from 16,514 in 2016.
This article originally appeared in CC Daily.