ALBANY, GA – Albany Technical College’s Industrial Operations Technician program has been added to the Governor’s HOPE Career Grant. The grant, formerly known as the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant (SWIG), enables certain technical education students in Georgia to receive free tuition.
The original grant was implemented in 2013 for three key industries and will benefit 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. Industrial Operations Technician was added to the list and Albany Tech is currently the only technical college in the system to offer the program.
“We continuously seek ways to help our Georgia students attain a high-quality, affordable education that leads to a productive career,” said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. “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.”
Albany Tech’s Center for Business Solutions began the Industrial Operations Technician program last fall in collaboration with the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission’s Industry Roundtable, to satisfy needs of local industries and allow a way for potential employees to gain the skills necessary for priority employment with these local industries.
This spring, almost 20 students were the first graduates of the new program. With almost 30 enrolled in classes this summer and more expected for fall semester, the program continues to grow. Students in the program are exposed to a variety of manufacturing principles, including Lean Six Sigma, operations management, industrial mechanics and interpersonal skills. The program also aligns the needs of Albany-Dougherty County’s industries with the training opportunities available, which further strengthen the local and regional labor force and allow it to be more attractive to both prospective and existing industries.
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.
The HOPE Career Grant is also available to recipients of the Zell Miller Grant, which, in addition to HOPE Grant requirements, stipulates that students must maintain at least a cumulative 3.5 GPA at the end of each college term.
For Albany Tech’s Industrial Operations Technician program, the HOPE Career Grant will pay up to $500 per semester, which is used to pay tuition, fees and book cost not covered by the HOPE and/or Zell Miller Grant.
While the HOPE Career Grant opportunities are open for any qualified student pursuing a certificate or diploma at a public college in Georgia, students within the Technical College System of Georgia have been 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.