State Program Examples
Tennessee Promise Scholarship
The Tennessee Legislature passed the Tennessee Promise Scholarship Act in 2014. This legislation was in line with former Governor Bill Haslam’s goal of “making Tennessee the number one location in the southeast for high-quality jobs” by increasing postsecondary attainment in Tennessee to 55% by 2025. The Tennessee Promise offers a scholarship for students to attend South College in an approved program of study, tuition free for two years. The scholarship is to pay tuition and fees at not covered by other aid. This is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning that it covers the cost of tuition not covered by federal grants and other financial aid for eligible students.
New Economy Workforce Program
The Virginia General Assembly passed HB 66 which established the New Economy Workforce Grant Program. This grant program is the first of its kind and provides a pay-for-performance model for funding noncredit workforce training that leads to a credential in a high demand field.
Competitive Skills Scholarship Program
The Competitive Skills Scholarship Program (CSSP) was established in 2007 to grow the productivity and competitiveness of Maine’s workforce in order to support employers’ success in a robust and changing economy through enabling low-income individuals to obtain relevant training credentials. Funded through assessments on employers that contribute to the unemployment trust fund, the CSSP allows eligible students to cover the cost of postsecondary education and training for industry-recognized credentials in high-demand industries as well as other supports like child care, transportation, books and supplies. Since its inception, CSSP has helped 3,107 low-income (<200% FPL) Mainers attain skills. CSSP paths provide opportunities for individual career choices, employer-driven training, and early college options for high school students. Eligible training is industry recognized and provides opportunity for employment in specific high-wage, in-demand jobs as identified by Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI).
Choose Ohio First Scholarship
In 2008, the Choose Ohio First scholarship was created to significantly strengthen Ohio’s competitiveness within STEMM disciplines and STEMM education. Choose Ohio First funds bachelor’s degrees that will have the most impact on Ohio’s position in world markets such as aerospace, medicine, computer technology and alternative energy. Choose Ohio First programs are integrated with regional economies through partnerships with industry leaders and meet statewide educational needs. In December 2019, the State of Ohio announced a new Choose Ohio First scholarship that will boost Ohio’s efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce in Computer Science fields such as programming and cybersecurity. This scholarship will support an estimated 1,400 Ohio students from 35 colleges and universities across the state with a total of $20,580,770 in awards over the next five years.
Individual Microcredential Assistance Program
The Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP) allows Ohioans who are low income, underemployed, or unemployed to participate in a training program and receive a short-term, industry-recognized, technology-focused credential at no cost. The Ohio Development Services Agency allocated up to $2.5M for FY2020 to distribute grants of up to $250,000 to training providers that offer eligible credentialling programs and demonstrate a commitment to providing opportunities for low-income, unemployed and underemployed individuals. Eligible providers include state institutions of higher education, Ohio technical centers, and private businesses or institutions that offer training to allow an individual to earn one or more microcredentials. The approved training providers will be reimbursed up to $3,000 for each technology-focused credential earned through the program. There are 11 IMAP training providers and more than half of the credentials offered can be completed virtually, meaning location is not a barrier.
Adult CTE Scholarship
In 2020, Vermont Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Department of Labor recently announced a new scholarship for all Vermonters who have graduated high school and are eligible for employment in the state. The Adult Career Technical Education (CTE) Scholarship provides up to $1,000 for Vermonters to cover training and other costs associated with participating in a CTE certificate program that will enhance employability and support growth along a career path. A total of $162,000 is available for these scholarships, which are distributed on a first-come-first-served basis. To apply, individuals must complete a career consultation with a Vermont Department of Labor job specialist.
In September 2020, following approval from a bipartisan committee of legislators, Governor Whitmer approved the FY2020 state budget which included $30M in state funding to support a new program called Michigan Reconnect. This program is the largest effort in Michigan’s history to ensure more than 4.1 million Michiganders age 25 or older without a college degree have an opportunity to earn a tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate. Michigan Reconnect pays the cost of tuition for eligible adults who want to pursue an associate degree or skills certificate at their in-district community college. A portion of the funding could also support training at one of more than 70 private training schools.