OC Workforce Development helps students pay for tuition, fees, books, child care

BREMERTON — The Workforce Development & Basic Studies Division at Olympic College has received $1.7 million for student financial support from Washington state and various grants.

Through its Better Job, Brighter Future campaign, Workforce Development partners with students to fund their next step as they complete a professional-technical certificate or degree. Programs of study, which can lead to future employment, can take as little as one quarter to complete.

Students can get training in high-skill fields like 3-D printing, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and welding. Other programs include accounting, business, computing information, culinary, filmmaking, electronics, engineering, fashion marketing, manufacturing, nursing assistant and others.

“Last year, [Workforce Development] funding helped support 4,100 students with the costs of college, including assistance with tuition, books, supplies, work opportunities and childcare expenses,” said Amy Hatfield, dean of Workforce Development & Basic Studies. “This gives students the opportunity to move quickly from the classroom to industry and living wage employment.”

The state Board for Community and Technical Colleges reports: “Washington state will have 740,000 job openings in the next five years. More than half of those openings will be filled by people with a college education or training. Employers are having the hardest time filling mid-level jobs. These jobs require more than a high school education, but less than a four-year degree — the level of education provided by community and technical colleges.”

A student may qualify for funding if he or she:

• Separated from the military in last four years.

• Qualified for unemployment in last four years.

• Is a displaced homemaker.

• Was previously self-employed.

• Needs new skills for a better job.

Call 360-475-7555 or go to www.olympic.edu/programs-classes/workforce- development-and-basic-studies.