Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Free college education for qualifying people currently out of work

The state has awarded the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board a grant to provide full scholarships for up to 266 unemployed workers in the Rochester area willing to train for a career in advanced manufacturing.

The scholarships will provide up to $8,500 for tuition, fees and books for eligible students who enroll in two-year programs at Finger Lakes Community College, Genesee Community College or Monroe Community College.

The funding comes from a federal initiative to train American workers in high-growth jobs that employers are currently filling with foreign workers through a visa program. The funding is channeled through the state Department of Labor, which awards grants to programs across New York that can meet this goal.

“Because the demand for certain jobs is so high, we want to focus on helping our workforce adapt to the changing technology and needs of modern manufacturers,” said Bill Rotenberg, coordinator of the grant for the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board. “We also want to create an awareness for the unemployed and our future workforce of the career and training opportunities available in this region.”

The goal of the program is to place participants in jobs that will earn an average annual salary of $45,000.

To be eligible, applicants must be 18 or older, unemployed and hold a high school diploma or GED. The program is also opened to unemployed individuals with associate or bachelor’s degrees who lack the required coursework to get jobs in advanced manufacturing. Scholarships are available from fall 2012 through spring 2015.

Prospective scholarship applicants should contact Bill Rotenberg at (315) 789-3131.They will be sent to a Workforce Development One Stop Center in their county for an assessment of skills, knowledge, abilities and work experience. Career guidance will also be provided to determine the appropriateness of enrollment in the project.

The grant will also provide funds for the three community colleges to hire tutors for scholarship recipients who need to strengthen math and science skills to succeed.

Scholarships will cover the following FLCC programs:

Engineering Science
Instrumentation and Control Technologies
Architectural Technology and Building Sciences

Mechanical Design and Drafting

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