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Georgia expanding Hope Career Grant program to construction, other trades
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Lanier Technical College President Ray Perren surveys the construction at the school's new site Wednesday morning at Ga. 365 and Howard Road. When complete, the campus will have six buildings. - photo by Scott Rogers

Georgia is expanding access to the Hope Career Grant in an effort to spur growth in the construction industry, as well as other trades critical to the economic development of the state.

“There is a shortage of highly skilled workers to fill vacancies in construction, manufacturing and health care,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. “Expanding (the Career Grant) to include construction trades can prepare people for a rewarding career and meet the talent needs for the construction industry.”

Recipients of Hope Career Grant by major — Lanier Technical College, fall semester 2017

  • Welding: 82
  • Health science: 53
  • Computer technology: 49
  • Early childhood care and education: 46
  • Industrial maintenance: 36
  • Practical nursing: 32
  • Precision manufacturing: 25
  • Movie production set design: 8
  • Computer programming: 2
  • Total: 333

Source: Lanier Technical College

Funded by the Georgia lottery, the Career Grant currently provides free tuition to students working toward a certificate or diploma in 12 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.

In the 2017 academic year, 17,777 students enrolled in technical colleges across the state were awarded certificates or diplomas in these 12 areas of study.

Beginning in January, the new programs eligible for Career Grant assistance include construction, aviation, electrical line work, logistics and automotive technology.

“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,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement earlier this month announcing the expansion. “By adding these five additional fields, we are incorporating moving trends of the workforce to ensure Georgians are qualified to meet the obligations of the jobs available today and in the future.”

Students must first qualify for the Hope Grant, which requires a minimum 2.0 cumulative postsecondary grade-point average, to be eligible for the Career Grant.

Zell Miller Grant recipients, who must maintain a cumulative 3.5 GPA at the end of each college term, are also eligible.  

At Lanier Technical College, 333 students receive Hope assistance in Career Grant majors.

“The Hope Career Grant is a strong incentive to get students to enroll in programs leading to careers in areas that are strategically important to the continuing economic development of Georgia,” Lanier Tech President Ray Perren said. “It is a true win-win for the student and those employers needing a skilled workforce in these high-demand areas.”

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