GA Partnership for Excellence in Education Names Six Fall 2019 College Access Grant Winners

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October 1, 2019

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education has selected six local chambers of commerce as winners of the Fall 2019 College Access Grant. These $3,000 mini-grants to local chambers of commerce are granted to increase post-secondary (certification, 2-year/4-year colleges) enrollment, attendance, and completion through programs designed to target students least likely to pursue higher education (low-income, under-represented, first-generation college goers, etc.).

“The research is pretty clear. Success in the workforce of today and tomorrow will require employees to have at least a 2-year degree,” said Dr. Steve Dolinger, president of the Georgia Partnership. “That’s why we’re always excited to award our mini-grants to local chambers committed to increasing post-secondary opportunities for students in their communities. The economic future, of not only individuals, but also communities, businesses and the state depend on Georgia being able to develop an education and workforce pipeline that meets the growing demand for highly qualified employees. We, along with local chambers, recognize these grants as one avenue toward ensuring Georgia’s workforce pipeline is robust and the state’s economic outlook remains bright.”

Fall 2019 College Access Grant Winners

  • McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce will host Educate McIntosh, an event sharing the resources available to students and parents in McIntosh County , focusing on college/ post-secondary and adult education supports, as well as other resources.
  • Pickens County Chamber of Commerce is launching the Pickens County Workforce Pipeline Initiative, a comprehensive community-based college awareness plan that includes career fairs, a college tour, and a “How to Pay for College” FASFA night for local students and parents.
  • Athens Area County Chamber of Commerce will be offering ACT/ SAT test prep courses to low-income and under-represented students to support them in pursuing post-secondary education and promote a local college-going culture
  • Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce will be supporting the work of the Education Partnership of Believe Greater Dalton by addressing specific issues they have identified as barriers to higher education in their community. Interventions include college tours, testing scholarships, parent and education efforts.
  • Terrell County Chamber of Commerce will be supporting an intensive training camp that culminates in industry certification for high school seniors, culminating in a job fair for participants and the wider community.
  • Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce: Create a new pathway in partnership with the high school and technical college that allows students to pursue certification meeting specific local industry needs.

Examples of how Fall 2018 grant winners used funds include:

Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce is a two-time grant winner and built on its previous work by hosting College, Career, and Work Ready workshops and a College Education Matters! event to encourage career goals, raise awareness of post-secondary education options, and improve job skills among local high school students.

Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Douglas Economic Development Authority, hosted an In-Demand Career Expo for all 9th graders to learn what job opportunities exist in the area, along with corresponding salaries and educational requirements.

Gordon County Chamber of Commerce hosted events with both local school systems (Gordon County Schools and Calhoun City Schools) including Future Fest 2018, College and Career Tours, and a rising-professionals workshop.

McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce hosted an “Educate McIntosh” event informing students, parents, and other adults about educational resources and opportunities in McIntosh County.

Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce convened local industry and business leaders alongside high school seniors in a “Senior Life Hacks” seminar, which will provide information on the workforce opportunities and educational requirements and resources in the community.

Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce supported 160 students at the Coastal Plains Charter High School by providing the counseling and tools they need to transition from high school to post-secondary education and the workforce.

Walton County Chamber of Commerce targeted adults, supporting their attendance at a local job fair that includes employment opportunities, certification and training programs through Athens Technical College, and social and medical support programs available in their community.

Washington County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Oconee Fall Line Technical College, brought students to tour Trade and Industrial programs of high need in their region.

“Receiving the grant enables us to host an amazing event that not only reaches a large majority of our citizens, but also celebrates the signing of our newest Reach Scholars as well as the first graduating Reach Scholars,” said Mandy Harrison, executive director of the Darien-Mcintosh Chamber of Commerce. “Educate McIntosh is literally a night of education for the members of our community, where attendees can learn of resources available to them through multiple agencies and have the opportunity to participate in educational seminars and classes. There is something for everyone at this event!”

The application for the Spring 2020 College Access Grant is available now.

For more information about the College Access Grant, please contact Merrill Wilcox at mwilcox(at) or 404-223-2463.