My recent conversation with Gov. Nathan Deal covered a lot of ground. In last week’s column, we talked about some of his accomplishments over the past eight years of which he is most proud, including criminal justice reform that is a model for the nation. We talked about the HOPE Grant, a scholarship that pays 100 percent of tuition for students to attend technical colleges to learn skills that are in high demand for Georgia’s workforce in 17 programs of study from automotive technology to computer technology, welding, practical nursing and even movie production set design.
To say the program has been a rousing success is an understatement. 88.4 percent of students who receive the HOPE Career Grant find job placement in their fields upon graduation, and 99.2 percent overall find job placement of some kind upon completion of the certificate.
We talked about The REACH (“Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen”) Scholarship Program, a needs-based mentorship and scholarship program started in 2012 to encourage middle school students from low-income families to graduate from high school and be prepared for the 21st-century workforce. Students and their parents/guardians must sign contracts agreeing to maintain the minimum GPA, have regular school attendance and meet with mentor-coaches.