CF unveils William H. Jackson Promise Scholarships

William H. Jackson. Photo courtesy of College of Central Florida

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Posted October 16, 2020 | By Brad Rogers, Ocala Gazette

William H. Jackson. Photo courtesy of College of Central Florida

The College of Central Florida has announced three new scholarship programs aimed at students in need and people looking to change careers because they were displaced from their jobs during the pandemic.

The first and most prominent of the new CF scholarships are the William H. Jackson Promise Scholarships, which were given to 25 students for the fall semester. The Jackson Promise Scholarships are intended for degree-seeking students who are in financial need or are first-generation college students.

“The scholarships are named for William H. Jackson, the president of Hampton Junior College, which was one of the 12 historically black junior colleges in Florida. In 1966, Hampton Junior College merged with CF,” CF President Jim Henningsen said. “In honor of President Jackson and to honor our history with Hampton Junior College, we have dedicated $50,000 annually in new student scholarships.

“We are proud to support some of our highest achieving, high-need students with these scholarships. The college is committed to providing education opportunities for our local students, who will become our business leaders, civic leaders, health care providers, educators and other professionals in the coming years. By investing in our students, we are investing in our community.”

In the inaugural batch of Jackson Promise Scholarships, 23 students received $2,000 scholarships per academic year, and two students received full tuition and book scholarships valued at $4,000 per year.

The two full-scholarship winners were Jeremiah Evans and Kalis Stevens, both Vanguard High graduates. Evans is pursuing a degree in early childhood education, while Stevens is seeking an associate of arts degree with the goal of going into a medical field.

As part of their scholarship, the full-scholarship winners will meet regularly with a mentor, be expected to attend student activity events and speak to community groups about their CF experience.

Two other scholarship programs recently announced by CF target “individuals who are out of work or who want to reskill or upskill may qualify to attend CF with no tuition expenses.”

The first set of scholarships are called Rapid Credentialing Grants and are funded through $505,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, money. These scholarships are intended to train people for local high-demand jobs, including accounting technology specialist, computer information data specialist, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and logistics and transportation specialist.

These programs are for entry-level students and range from nine to 12 credit hours and can be completed 18 weeks or less. Most of these classes are available online.

“This grant presents a great opportunity for our students and for displaced workers to consider options that will help them start a new career,” said Dr. Mark Paugh, vice president of academic affairs. “Our area has so many high-demand jobs that need employees, and these programs can help someone earn a certificate fast and pursue a meaningful career.”

In Marion County, the Rapid Credentialing Grant will also support a cohort of the Business Entrepreneurship College Credit Certificate program, offered in partnership with the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership and its IMPACT initiative for minority business owners.

A third scholarship program, which essentially mirrors the Rapid Credentialing Grants, is the new “Get There” workforce education initiative. It is aimed at raising awareness about the various short-term career and educational programs offered at CF and the state’s other community colleges and vocational schools.

CF will offer informational sessions on Oct. 21, Nov. 9, Nov. 20 and Dec. 2. Details are available at Students may be eligible to receive additional funds for expenses such as uniforms and background checks, thanks to a partnership with CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion.

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