Scholarships to provide education, training and paid internships in high-growth fields
Midlands Technical College’s Growing Resources for Information Technology (GRIT) program is currently accepting scholarship applications. The GRIT program offers training in high-growth, high-demand information technology (IT) occupations for unemployed veterans, minorities, women, and others who have work experience or education in information technology.
The program covers tuition, books, some certification exam fees, and an opportunity for on-the-job training with area partner employers. Scholarship funds are being paid for out of a $5 million grant from the US Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration.*
Regional employers in insurance and health care IT departments anticipate needing nearly 2,200 new and replacement IT workers through the four-year grant period. The grant will provide training exclusively for the three occupations in highest demand among regional insurance and health care industries: programmer analysts, computer network support specialists and network and data communication analysts. These three occupations and associated career pathways account for nearly three out of every four job openings in the local insurance and health care industries.
“We have a lot of opportunities that are going to be available for people who are interested in technology careers over the next 10, 15, even 20 years out,” said Alan Whelchel, assistant vice president at Colonial Life.
The Midlands region of South Carolina processes more health insurance claims than anywhere else in the United States (two million per day). This has helped transform the region into a global insurance technology hub, spawning more than 30 unique insurance-related subsidiaries, and attracting ten new computer systems design and service firms seeking to tap into the insurance technology market.
So far, the grant has served nearly 140 participants. One past participant, Donna McCallum, applied to the program to stay ahead in a challenging economy. McCallum said, “I don’t see how anybody can’t succeed when you are doing the GRIT program. Not only do you have the knowledge base, you have the people behind you. You have the peers, you have the teachers, you have the administration, you even have the businesses backing you.”
“[Students from the GRIT program] came to our jobs really prepared,” said Whelchel. “I think the Midlands Technical College program has done an excellent job to prepare them for a technical career.”
Lonnie Emard, assistant vice president for BCBSSC said, “We’ve been able to have these people go to work for my company, for Colonial Life, for many of the others in the community, and seeing if we can’t really change the nature of the IT talent landscape in the Midlands.”
Midlands Technical College is working in partnership with Central Carolina Technical College to extend the grant’s reach to seven counties in South Carolina. There are a total of 18 employer partners (individuals) from the insurance technology cluster and the healthcare IT industry who have documented their willingness to provide on-the-job training opportunities for GRIT students. These individuals represent the following organizations and companies: Accenture; Colonial Life; BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina; Seibels; VC3; DP Professionals; AAC Utility Partners; TM Floyd & Company; Globalpundits, Inc.; The Benefit Company, Inc.; Palmetto Health; Agape Senior; Clarendon Health System; and Tuomey Healthcare System.
How to Apply:
GRIT scholarship applications are currently being accepted for the HIT Computer Network Support Specialist program with classes starting in August 2013. HIT computer network support specialists provide technical assistance to computer users, including assistance in the use of computer hardware and software to include printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems. Applicants with an associate or bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Computer Hardware Technology/Technician, Computer Software Technology/Technician, Medical Office Computer Specialist/Assistant, or equivalent combination of education and work experience could be a good fit for the program.
Applications will be accepted in July 2013 for the HIT Network and Data Communication Analyst programs with classes starting in October 2013.
For more information and to apply for GRIT scholarships, visit www.midlandstech.edu/cce/grit/.
*Funding Source: Funded in full by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Award Amount: $5,000,000 over a 4-year period.
Midlands Technical College is a comprehensive, multi-campus, public, two-year college serving the primary region of Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties of South Carolina. The college enrolls approximately 18,000 credit students annually, and provides continuing education to 30,000 individuals and hundreds of area businesses each year. MTC is the largest provider of transfer students to the University of South Carolina. www.midlandstech.edu