Grant will help Marion Technical College help foster youth

Staff report

MARION — A $20,000 grant will help local students from the foster care system pursue their dreams of higher education. Marion Technical College (MTC) was selected for the Short-Term Certificate Foster Youth Grant to provide students from foster care the chance to earn credentials and certificates on the path to a career.

Local students will be able to take courses in information technology and real estate sales. These programs take less than one year to complete and can give students a jump-start on a successful future. Marion Children’s Services was excited to hear that Marion Technical College was selected for this grant to support foster youth.

“About 20,000 children age out of the foster care system every year without a forever family and many struggle. Less than three percent get a college degree,” said Jacqueline Ringer, Director of Marion County Children’s Services. “This is an opportunity for some local teens to walk in the doors of Marion Technical College and walk out with a marketable skill leading to a career.”

MTC works hard to meet the needs of students across the community. Children enter the foster care system through no fault of their own, but because they need a safe, stable environment because of abuse or neglect.

“Marion Technical College has a long tradition of opening doors for first-generation college students and students from diverse backgrounds. We are excited that this grant will help us continue to meet the needs of our workforce and to support students who have overcome substantial challenges,” said Dr. Bob Haas, Chief Strategy Officer for MTC.

Not only does this grant benefit foster youth; it also benefits local businesses.

“This is a great opportunity for youth aging out of foster care. It will allow them to begin or continue down an in-demand career pathway. The end result will not only mean success for our youth but also meet the needs of our local employers,” said Ron Meade, Administrator of Ohio Means Jobs – Marion County.

The Short-Term Certificate Foster Youth Grant equally divides a statewide total of $385,000 to 16 community colleges and three universities to assist students from foster care.

“My vision for all young Ohioans is the same I have for my own children and grandchildren – that they have the opportunity to live up to their potential and achieve their dreams,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “This grant will help foster youth have the opportunity to earn the certificates and credentials required by many in-demand jobs. I thank Chancellor Gardner for making this funding available and for his assistance in helping students reach their goals.”

Foster youth do not have to stop with a short-term certificate. MTC offers associate degrees and transfer pathways in real estate brokering and many information technology fields including computer networking and cybersecurity. A Pell grant covers the cost of tuition at MTC. About 90 percent of MTC students receive some form of financial aid through scholarships, grants and loans.

Staff report