Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) is a recipient of the Nebraska Workforce Retraining Initiative (WRI) Grant by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. This grant provides funds to administer scholarships to those negatively impacted by COVID-19 who meet certain unemployment or underemployment criteria, allowing them to complete training programs for jobs in high-demand fields. The average scholarship will be approximately $1,100.
"We're excited to be able to offer funded educational opportunities to our communities during these unprecedented times," said Doug Mader, WNCC workforce development director. "We'll be able to assist 137 qualified individuals on their journey to a new or better career after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on their employment and lives."
WNCC offers a total of 10 credit and noncredit training programs that meet criteria to be covered by the WRI scholarship, including Automotive Technology, Collision Repair, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Basic Nursing Assistant (BNA), Medication Aide, Welding, Class A CDL, Electrician Apprenticeship, Computer Support Specialist, and Heavy Equipment Operator - Skid Steer. These programs were identified based on WNCC's ability to provide the requisite skills needed for employment, regional demand, and interest from the industry.
Eligible students must meet one of the following guidelines - be unemployed on or after March 13, 2020, as a result of COVID-19; unemployed between January 1, 2020, and March 13, 2020, and are now unable to find employment as a result of COVID-19; employed for less than 40 hours a week at a job which provides the majority of their income (primary job) due to COVID-19 and wish to be employed full time; employed temporarily at their primary job because of COVID-19, but wish to be employed permanently; furloughed or laid off from a primary job on or after March 13, 2020 due to COVID-19; or had to close their own business, which provided the majority of their income, because of COVID-19 and are now employed at a new primary job with lower wages than their previous employment.
WRI recipients will receive career exploration and coaching from WNCC Career Pathways & Advising staff to discuss labor statistics and job opportunities to allow recipients to make an informed decision about which training program to pursue. Additionally, one-on-one career coaching is available to help recipients rebuild professional self-efficacy and confidence, set short and long term goals, and develop a growth mindset; all of which may have been impacted due to pandemic-induced layoffs, temporary furloughs, and reductions in work hours.
One scholarship will be awarded per applicant. Applications for the Nebraska Workforce Retraining Initiative scholarships will be accepted through September 1, 2020.
For more information or to apply, visit go.wncc.edu/retraining, or contact WNCC Career Pathways & Advising at firstname.lastname@example.org or 308-635-6000.