Apply for the Community Foundation’s Complete Your Degree Program
June 30, 2022 – The Community Foundation for Oceana County is thrilled to launch its Complete Your Degree (CYD) program and application process starting July 1st. The CYD program is designed to help local adults achieve degrees and credentials towards meeting the employment skill gap, thereby increasing household prosperity and fostering a more vibrant economy. The first cohort of CYD members will be chosen for the upcoming school year. Adult learners residing in Oceana County are encouraged to apply to join CYD by following the application instructions off our website, under the scholarship tab. For more information about this year’s CYD cohort, applicants are encouraged to attend the Foundation’s Lunch and Learn virtual session at 12 noon on July 13th. The registration link for that session can be found on our events page.
CYD supports a crucial part of Oceana’s workforce – the 26% of adults who have some college credit but no degree. In 2019, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees began an in-depth look at our scholarship program and noticed the growing distance between Oceana County’s adult work force and the needs of area employers. Despite projections that 60% of the nation’s employees will need education beyond high school, only 26.5% of Oceana’s adults 25-64 have an associate’s degree or higher. Out of this crucial conversation and piloting some high demand adult scholarships in 2021-22, the Foundation board decided to develop a Complete Your Degree program to reshape the inclusivity of our scholarship assets.
The Foundation will develop its first CYD cohort of five adult learners this fall in partnership with Muskegon and West Shore Community Colleges. Together with the state’s Futures for Frontliners, MI Reconnect programs and other state or college resources, CYD will fill the remaining cost of tuition at one of our local community colleges. These competitive needs-based scholarships are renewable for participating students until they graduate or transfer to a different school. CYD students will work closely with a Foundation-sponsored Success Coach to provide extra support and resource referrals.
The program is multi-faceted, focusing on the holistic well-being of each student and recognizing personalized barriers to their education. The cost of education expands beyond tuition, prompting the Foundation’s Emergency Aid (EA) to meet students’ basic needs and reduce barriers to successful degree completion. These may include food, childcare, technology, housing, transportation or other barriers. Handling students’ needs on a case-by-case basis, the Foundation can meet students where they are and tailor their support to their individualized barriers. True economic development envisions a community where all residents thrive, regardless of economic background. Our CYD program recognizes the inherent importance of equity and prioritizes persons of color, first-generation, and/or low-income students. Participant selection will also prioritize education and skill gaps needed for local employers.
If you are interested in supporting or learning more about this initiative, contact Foundation CEO Tammy Carey at firstname.lastname@example.org or CYD AmeriCorps Member Olivia Mussell at email@example.com or call the Foundation office at 231-869-3377.