ONEONTA, ALA. –Wallace State-Oneonta is offering single mothers in Blount County an opportunity to jump start their welding careers, through a grant from the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.
The first five women to enroll in the program for the Spring 2018 semester can take advantage of this recently-established initiative. Candidates must be single mothers, live in Blount County and enrolled in Wallace State.
Each student will receive a $5,000 scholarship to assist with child care and living expenses in addition to any Pell grant award they receive for tuition and related fees.
“This is an exciting and perfect opportunity for us and the first time the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham has funded a need in Blount County. I’m excited that the women coming in are young mothers. They have been waiting for an opportunity to go back to school, and I can’t wait to hear about the wonderful stories that come out of this,” said Wallace State-Oneonta Director Dr. Kelley Jones.
Allison Morton, a single mother of one and a Susan Moore resident, was the first person to enroll in the new program. She learned about the announcement on Facebook, through a live radio feed set up by Wallace State alum Jeremy Lesley on the Oneonta campus. Lesley anchors a show on 95.3 FM in Oneonta.
“I was immediately interested when I heard about it on the radio. Welding is a career I’ve been interested in, and I know there are a lot of job opportunities. It can produce a high-paying career,” Morton said. “This seems like a great opportunity for single mothers. I’m excited to see who I can meet and become friends with.”
Jones and Wallace State-Oneonta welding instructor Chris Posey appeared on Lesley’s show for the announcement.
Jones added that two single mothers came to campus on the day of the announcement, breaking down in tears as they discussed the opportunity available.
Posey, a Wallace State welding graduate himself, believes women develop into strong and capable welders because they are detailed-oriented with their work. Females enrolled within the welding department at Wallace State’s main campus have increased over the years.
“Women are more tedious and meticulous whereas men jump right into it. No matter what, once you get inside these doors, everybody is a welder. There are no guys and no girls. That’s all there is to it,” Posey said. “We have a lot of fun here, and we’re working to produce graduates to go straight into the workforce. Right now, the average age for a welder is 53 years old and those employees are starting to retire. Work has to be done, so our graduates can fill those roles.”
Interested students are asked to complete the Wallace State Future Foundation scholarship application, signifying they are interested in welding as the field of study. A completed FAFSA must also be on hand.
Jones said the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham conducted extensive research on the Wallace State-Oneonta campus and the welding program before offering the latest initiative for single mothers.
Wallace State-Oneonta students can earn a certificate and an associate’s degree in welding.
For more information, contact the Wallace State-Oneonta campus at 205.625.4020.
The Wallace State Future Foundation scholarship application is available at www.wsccfuturefoundation.org.
For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu.
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