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Hocking College Receiving Grant for Foster Care System Students

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ATHENS (WOUB) — Hocking College is receiving a $23,000 grant to support students coming to the school from the foster care system.

The Short-Term Certificate Foster Youth Grant will help students seeking a certificate that will take about 16 weeks to complete, according to a Hocking College press release. Those programs include commercial truck drivers licensing, firefighter certification, real estate certification, heavy equipment operating certification and more. 

The college is one of the 16 community colleges throughout Ohio receiving this grant.

Hocking College President Betty Young said many students don’t self-identify as members of the foster care system when applying, so the college estimates the number of foster care students who receive financial services.

“We can estimate but we’re not really positive. For those students that do identify we’re able to provide additional services,” Young said.

Young said a student from Florida came to Hocking College for the services and he can now support himself through their financial and mentoring guidance.

Through the program, the college has discovered many foster care students do not have a driver’s license. Since this can affect job opportunities, the grant money could be used for that, along with the initial schooling assistance.

Those in foster care face many disadvantages and this grant can help those students work toward an education for in-demand jobs, while feeling like they’re in a safe space, according to Young.

She added that children in the foster care system often deal with significant trauma in their life.

“Unfortunately, we have way too many youth today moving into the foster care system,” Young said. “A lot of social issues in our community (have) created the situation, addiction being probably the number one.”

The grant reaches out to all foster care system students throughout the country, not just the Appalachian region.

The grant equally divides a statewide total of $385,000 in short-term certificate funding to help students from foster care earn credentials and certificates.