The US Department of Education has awarded Grant Valley State University (GVSU) and Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) grants of $1.2 million each. The funds will be disbursed over five years and must go to help non-traditional students pursue a college education.
According to its news release, Grand Rapids will use the funds to open a TRIO Educational Opportunities Center where “unemployed or low-wage workers and other adult students can work with campus specialists to connect with counseling and receive information on admissions and support services.”
The center intends to offer programs such as personal and academic counseling, career workshops, tutoring, student financial assistance, and college admissions assistance.
GVSU will also direct the funds towards building the GVSU Laker Educational Opportunity Center to provide around 850 adults with career assessment, financial literacy training, college admissions assistance, and field trips to businesses. The goal will be to increase the number of college graduates in Kent and Muskegon counties.
“The Laker Educational Opportunity Center will help adults in Kent and Muskegon counties break down the barriers to their career success. Its impact on West Michigan’s economy will be almost immediate as participants will fill jobs and increase the area’s productivity,” GVSU President Philomena Mantella said in a statement.
A Helping Hand
The US Department of Education (ED) and Labor Department have developed other initiatives to help unemployed workers improve their career prospects through a college education.
ED has amended its guide on how financial aid administrators use their “professional judgment” to assess financial aid applicants. Unemployed applicants may now have their income adjusted to zero, helping them receive the maximum financial aid package.
The Labor Department will inform state workforce agencies that unemployment insurance recipients will still be eligible for college funding such as federal student aid.