GA Partnership Selects Fall 2021 College Access Grant Recipients

MEDIA CONTACT: Robert W. Gaines, II,, 404-223-2464
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September 24, 2021

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education has selected two local chambers of commerce as winners of the Fall 2021 College Access Grant (CAMG): The White County Chamber of Commerce and Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce 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.).

“What we’re seeing right now in the workforce in terms of automation and technology trends has brought into sharp relief the necessity of employees having at least a 2-year degree or a post-secondary credential,” said Dr. Dana Rickman, president of the Georgia Partnership. “That’s why we’ve been committed to partnering with local chambers over the last few years through these mini-grants to ensure students across the state have access to post-secondary opportunities. Local chamber leaders know the needs of their communities and the students in them and are best positioned to meet those needs.” Beth Truelove, President of the White County Chamber of Commerce, stated that, “In a small rural community, planning for talent is a necessity.  We greatly appreciate GPEE and their investment in White County to help us organize a skilled pool of talent for all of our existing businesses.” Stephanie Womack of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, also expressed gratitude for Partnership’s ongoing support of their work. “We are once again honored to have been chosen for the CAMG award. With this money, we are able to teach students the weight of their financial decisions while in college and give them the tools to be successful to graduation and beyond. We’re grateful for GPEE for their support and look forward to serving the students of Greater Dalton.”

Fall 2021 College Access Grant Winners

  • The White County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with White County High School, North Georgia Technical College (NGTC), and White County Economic Development to align students with the skills needed in their community through taking advantage of the High Demand Career Initiative programs.  These pathways of study are free to qualifying students through the HOPE scholarship, and align with the industries in highest demand in Georgia.   Student-parent pairs will attend NGTC tours and presentations of the High Demand Career pathways of most relevance to the region.  The Chamber, along with the high school and technical college, will then facilitate a FAFSA completion and NGTC application night for those students and their parents, supporting their next steps towards a well-paying, local career.  Students who enroll in the programs will be celebrated with a Signing Day celebration.
  • Believe Greater Dalton with the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce continues to pursue its five year strategy to improve student performance and workforce readiness using a data-driven, collective impact approach through their College Access Minigrant award.  The grant will allow the chamber’s Education Partnership to continue to develop their financial literacy supports, which offer Dalton State College students financial education to support their perseverance in post-secondary study.  The program will allow a FAFSA awareness and assistance initiative, with supports in English and Spanish, as well as a bilingual financial education library that will become available to current and future students.  Finally, a series of workshops will be offered, bringing community experts to present the students information on debt management, credit basics, preparing for financial emergencies, and more.  Believe Greater Dalton seeks to promote these programs as well as general awareness of Dalton State College’s Financial Fitness Learning Center, to ensure more students are supported throughout their enrollment.

Examples of how Spring 2021 winners used funds include:

  • Believe Greater Dalton with the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Dalton State College will focus on offering financial literacy supports to students who identify financial concerns as significant to their ability to remain in college. Empowering students to make strong, informed decisions that allow them to remain in college when navigating the challenges of tight finances, student loan debt, and the conflicting priorities of employment and study can support their post-secondary success.  Programming will focus on budgeting, preparing for a financial emergency, and assessing job offers and benefits.
  • The Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Douglas County School System and the University of West Georgia will offer a virtual College Kick-off event to target the navigation of the higher education system and create a Safety Net Fund that will provide Douglas County School System seniors and graduates with mini-grants to cover small expenses that are a barrier to enrolling in college in Fall 2021. The Partnership’s College Access Mini-grant will provide funding for the event and seed money for the safety net fund.
  • The Early County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Early County High School and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College has identified high need communities by analyzing local census tracts and considering poverty, racial demographics, transportation challenges, and internet access. They have partnered with educational leaders to plan a series of informational sessions targeting the highest needs areas of the county to deliver information on post-secondary opportunities.  Food, transportation, and translation services will be provided to increase community access, and planning is in place to create safe opportunities to share information in the COVID-19 environment.

The application for the Spring 2022 College Access Grant will be available soon.

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