Huntsville, TN (2010-02-22) Unemployed workers and persons currently working that will be laid off in the near future will be eligible for special training opportunities provided by the local campus of Roane State Community College and the Tennessee Technology Center at Huntsville/Oneida. State resources are also available for assist existing businesses to expand and for entrepreneurs to start new businesses locally.
“We have a crisis of unemployment,” commented Dr. Gary Goff, President of Roane State Community College. Goff, speaking at a press conference held Monday afternoon at the Scott County campus, pledged the support of the community college to assisted dislocated workers by providing scholarship funds through the Roane State Foundation.
“We want the people of Scott County to know they are not alone,” said Goff. “Roane State, and our friends at the local Tennessee Technology Center, stand ready to assist them with their education and training needs.”
The local Technology Center has procured $350,000 to help fund educational opportunities for laid off workers. “We recently met with the Commissioner of Labor (James Neeley),” commented Dwight Murphy, Director of the local Technology Center. From that meeting, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Tennessee Board of Regeants earmarked $250,000 for dislocated worker training. The local Workforce Investment Act (WIA) office was also awarded $100,000 to assist laid off workers.
The Roane State Foundation, through the Earl McDonald Scholarship Endowment, has committed up to $100,000 per year, for the next three years, to help laid off workers go to college and learn new skills. These last dollar scholarships will cover any leftover balances after all other financial aid grants have been exhausted.
The new scholarships will be in addition to the current scholarships offered through the endowment. The endowment currently provides funds for non-traditional students (adults who often are not eligible for financial aid). It also helps high school students pay for dual studies courses (courses that allow students to earn college credit and high school credit at the same time).
Funds from the Earl McDonald Scholarship program, including those for scholarship training, may be used only for Scott County residents.
“I have worked with many students from this community who came back to school after getting laid off, learned new skills, and moved on to great careers,” said Sharon Baird, director of Roane State’s Scott County campus. “Our doors are open, and we are here to help from the day students apply for admission to the day they graduate.”
The local Technology Center is planning on offering programs that had been abandoned, while also offering evening classes in some of its most popular courses. The local campus will again be offering machine shop classes, along with expanded offerings in nursing, patient care, and electronics.
“We expanding our G.E.D. preparation classes too,” added Murphy. The Technology Center, in cooperation with the local Career Center, will also be offering free resume preparation.
“We have computers, fax machines, and other resources available,” commented Tom Payne, Director of the local center. The office also has a list of jobs available locally and regionally.
“It’s a critical time not only in our community, but in the lives of these dislocated workers,” commented Scott County Mayor Rick Keeton. Speaking at the news conference, Keeton pledged the support of local government in assisting laid off workers. He also announced the availability of state funding to assist existing businesses expand and for new start-up companies to locate in Scott County.