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Job Corps Scholars Program at WSSU offers free college courses and career certifications

Job Corps Scholars Program at WSSU offers free college courses and career certifications
July 21
15:03 2021

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is now offering a new program that allows participants to complete free college courses and earn career preparedness certification in the field of their choice.

WSSU’s  Job Corps Scholars Program is designed to eliminate some of the barriers to education and employment. The program is funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and is unlike anything else offered by a four-year college or university. 

Although similar  programs are popular throughout the country and at community colleges, WSSU is the first four-year college or university in the state to offer a job corps program.

After completing the two-year program, participants will earn a certification in one of eight different areas: cybersecurity, computer programming, entrepreneurship, healthcare, law enforcement, legal services, management, or web applications. Participants will also have access to tutoring, career counseling, career placement, the opportunity to attend several different career development workshops, tuition support, mileage reimbursement, child care assistance, and transportation assistance. 

Dr. Zeb Talley, who helped write the grant for the program, said he was excited to be a part of the team that brought the program to WSSU. “We’re excited to host it and be the forerunners of having the program,” said Talley when discussing the Job Corps Scholars Program. Talley, who is the Career Development Services Director, said the program is a great way to accelerate your career.

“This is a great opportunity for people young and old to really take advantage of a program that in essence, accelerates your career,” Talley said. “Dedicate to us two years of your life and we can get you an accelerated certification or two, and get you prepared for the job market.” 

In year one of the program, students will complete college courses and earn their certification. In year two, counselors will help participants secure a job, enter an apprenticeship program, join the Armed Services, or continue their education. Throughout the program, students will have access to career support, emotional support, and guidance counselors from the university. 

Nichelle Carroll, a personal and career development counselor, said she enjoys helping those in need navigate through life. “We know in order to rise to the occasion, we have to have skills: training skills in a particular field, social skills, interview skills, how to build a resume, and just how to navigate,” Carroll continued. “We want to be able to equip young people with the tools to be able to navigate so they’re comfortable and confident.”

Participants in WSSU’s Job Corps Scholars Program must be between the ages of 16-24, live in Forsyth, Davidson, Davie, Guilford, or Wake counties, and meet low-income criteria. The first cohort of students started taking courses earlier this summer. 

Elaina Saunders, who is part of the first cohort of students, said the program saved her life. Saunders, who is working toward her certification in healthcare, said she heard about the program from her guidance counselor at North Forsyth High School. “There’s not one bad thing I can say about this program,” Saunders said. 

“Mrs. Carroll, who is my counselor, Dr. Talley and the entire staff is very supportive. They’re going to walk you through every step of the way and make sure you have everything you need,” she said. “I would encourage people around my age and younger to take advantage of the opportunity. This is a wonderful opportunity that’s not going to be there when we get older, so why not take advantage of it now?”

For more information on Winston-Salem State University’s Job Corps Scholars Program, visit https://www.wssu.edu/student-life/career-development-services/job-corps-scholars-program/job-corp-scholars-program.html.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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