Partnership names Spring 2018 College Access Grant Winners

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education has selected six local chambers of commerce as winners of the Spring 2018 College Access Grant. These $3,000 mini-grants to local chambers of commerce are granted to leverage their visibility, voice, and influence in efforts to recruit more high school graduates – especially low-income – to enroll in college, and encourage more adults to return to college.

“We know from research that the majority of job postings today require at least an associate’s degree,” said Dr. Steve Dolinger, president of the Georgia Partnership. “We are excited to see how these six chambers of commerce use these grant funds to encourage high school students and adults to further their education. Successfully completing high school and some form of post-secondary education will benefit individuals and their families. These individual benefits then add to the health of the communities in which they live and ultimately accrue benefits across the state.”
Spring 2018 College Access Grant Winners

  • Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce will promote connection between post-secondary education and a qualified workforce to local business members, connect with school staff to provide targeted messaging to students about the importance of continuing their education, and facilitate a College Education Matters day including college tours.
  • Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce will plan a Career Fair exposing students to the industries and careers available in their own county.  Together with the Parent Involvement Coordinator of the local school system and the staff of the local college, they will plan events for low income students and their families on topics such as the college and financial aid application processes and scholarship opportunities.
  • Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce will organize and host a Career Path Day for city and county high school students, with local employer participants emphasizing the educational requirements of their positions.  The Chamber will also facilitate students’ tours to three local industries with apprenticeship programs offering certification and college tuition.
  • Metter-Candler County Chamber of Commerce is starting a pilot “College Access Boot Camp” program targeting first-generation college students and how to overcome their challenges to college enrollment and completion.
  • Newton County Chamber of Commerce will host four resource fairs for adults interested in returning to school, centered around manufacturing career opportunities, resume and application prep, workplace testing prep, and industry and manufacturing lab tours.
  • Walker County Chamber of Commerce will support a program built between the school system and Georgia Northwestern Technical College, opening up a viable and in-demand career path for students.  The grant will buy the technology necessary to make this pathway a reality.

Examples of how Fall 2017 grant winners used funds include:
Carroll County Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber hosted resource fairs and industry tours targeting out of school women aged 16-24 to connect them with educational resources and opportunities.
Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber organized outreach events for non-traditional students over 25 to reenroll in and complete their education.
Lee County Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber took all 9th graders on a college visit, and facilitated test prep for ACT and Accuplacer for 10th and 11th graders, focusing on low-income students.
Milledgeville Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce:  In partnership with the Career Academy, the Chamber targeted low-income students to tour local colleges, and familiarize them with the application process and financial aid opportunities.
Roberta-Crawford County Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber organized rallies on school campuses for 8th-12th graders to encourage post-secondary education, and followed up with college and business tours.
Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber hosted a pinning ceremony, college visit, guest speaker event, and mock interviews with business partners.
Ginger Lawrence, Principal of Lee County High School Ninth Grade Campus, added, “The Lee County High School 9th grade campus used one school day to take the entire class of 2022 to college! After the school made arrangements with area colleges, students picked their school of choice and enjoyed a full day of orientations and tours. For many students, this was their first experience on a college campus and it made a lasting impression on all of them.”
“I feel honored that we received a College Access Grant,” said Patti Temple, Executive Director of the Roberta-Crawford County Chamber of Commerce. “The grant allowed us to expose more students to post-secondary education, and these students are now looking at the possibility of attending post-secondary education with a different mindset.”
For more information about the College Access Grant, please contact Merrill Wilcox at mwilcox(at) or 404-223-2463.