WACO, Texas – A $112,500 grant handed out by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is helping McLennan Community College (MCC) give scholarships to students who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Getting a lump of money like that and knowing that it will be impacting students who, for various reasons, have had to stop working due to COVID,” says MCC Dean of Workforce and Public Service Dr. Frank Graves. “Them being able to seek out additional funds is going to be exciting.”
MCC is expecting many of those taking advantage of these scholarships will be “non-traditional students” – meaning they are older than the typical college freshman or sophomore.
The college is already used to working with these kinds of students.
“A large number of our students have gone on to work, and then have realized they need to come back,” Graves said. “We try to make that as seamless as possible, and have advisors on campus that understand that.”
Not only can these programs help students get back into the workforce, but it could help them advance in their industries.
“Some people are working, and they are working below their level, and they want to upscale,” Graves said. “This gives you an opportunity to do, is to come back, identify some skills that would help you in your current job. To be able to advance and to create an opportunity, obviously to grow in your work and career and to earn more revenue.”
When Graves gets to work with these students and see them succeed, it means a little extra to him.
“When you get to see them walk across the stage and you know the story behind them, that’s truly inspiring,” Graves said. “That’s why we do this work.”
You can see if you qualify for these scholarships here.