Winston-Salem State University Job Corps Scholars Program (WSSU-JCSP) has secured a U.S Department of Labor Job Corps Scholars grant for $1,186,900. The grant will allow the university to enroll 40 students per year in an intensive two-year career preparation program.

In the first year, students will receive a certification in career readiness, non-profit leadership, or computer programming. The quick immersion allows students to acquire valuable skills they can use throughout their college years and into their job searches.

This program’s extensive services will require additional staff to ensure students have the direct support they need to be successful. Grant funds will support four full-time positions in Career Development Services. The department will add two career counselors and two employment counselors that will be responsible for assisting students with personal and professional development.

The Job Corp Scholars Program will target five counties with census-designated opportunity zones, and they include: Forsyth, Davidson, Davie, Guilford, and Wake. These counties rank some of the lowest in North Carolina for per capita income, each ranking well below the state average. They are also among the weakest areas for upward economic mobility.

The WSSU-JCSP will serve a total of 80 students over a 39-month period. Program leaders are anticipating a 95 percent employment rate for scholars post-program.

A primary goal will be to teach students how to develop their personal brand, and use that knowledge to prepare themselves to meet their career objectives.

“We are extremely excited about the award and this opportunity to impact students significantly. We will leverage our community partners to provide high impact experiences for our students,” said LaMonica Wilhelmi Sloan, executive director of Career Education and Professionals Partnerships. “COVID-19 will certainly impact how we provide services, but we’re actively pursuing short-term remote learning opportunities so that students can immediately begin the program.”

Career Development Services will work with the university’s enrollment management team to identify students that meet the qualifying criteria for the program. The program will accept its first students fall 2020.