Sarah Willets Staff writer
November 8, 2013
LUMBERTON — Robeson Community College has received a nearly $120,000 grant to pay for computer, construction and interview training, all designed to get people back to work.
The money, which was awarded by the North Carolina Community Colleges System’s Back-to-Work Initiative, is expected to pay for computer and construction certifications for approximately 120 students, according to Lisa Hunt, director of grants and sponsored programs.
Robeson Community College was awarded the grant last month.
The Back-to-Work program, which is funded by the state, provides training for entry-level technical jobs in communities with high unemployment and underemployment rates as well as a large numbers of veterans, said Hunt. The training is intended to help students attain industry and state-recognized credentials.
Colleges must apply for the grant by demonstrating a need for a particular program.
“We looked at some of the major employers in the county — hospitals, public schools — and there is a definite need for basic computer certifications,” Hunt said. “These qualifications are a plus to any employer.”
According to Hunt, the grant will help pay for students to receive Internet and Computing Core Certifications and Microsoft Office Specialist certifications, including help with their tuition, books and exam costs. Both certifications were already available through the school, said Hunt.
Additionally, the school hopes to provide 85 of those technical students with a Career Readiness Certificate, which signifies that a student has attained a basic skill level in reading, math and research.
Students can also pursue certification from The National Center for Construction Education and Research with financial help from the grant, according to Hunt.
Those who benefit from the grant will learn how to prepare resumes and interview for jobs, said Hunt.
All 58 community colleges in the state were eligible to apply for the Back-to-Work grants. According the State Board of Community Colleges, 49 of them applied for and received money.
More than $5.8 millon was allocated to the program by this year’s state budget, including more than $1 million that rolled over from last year’s budget. The program was created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2012.