Grant supports students to get a head start for college and workforce

Gwinnett Technical College’s Move On When Ready program got extra support to help its students finish high school with workforce ready skills and the choice to continue to pursue a post-secondary education or go directly into the workforce.

Thanks to AT&T’s Aspire program, Gwinnett Tech recently received a $20,000 grant that will enhance community outreach for the college’s rapidly growing Move On When Ready program.

“We will be able to reach more students and families through this grant. It allows parents the opportunity to see that college is an option for their high school student and it gives the students the opportunity to feel comfortable making the transition to college after high school,” said Karen Howell, director of Move On When Ready at Gwinnett Tech.

Move On When Ready is a state initiative that is available to all high school students, ages 14 and older, from private, public and home study programs. It covers post-secondary tuition, mandatory fees and books, for up to 15 credit hours per semester. Through the free college courses, it has become an incredibly important program for families and students, especially those who may be a first generation college student.

“We have seen students earn career certifications and even associate’s degrees prior to completing high school and many of these students are the first in their family to attend college,” said Tessa Barbazon, coordinator for Counseling and Graduation Support at Fulton County Schools. “The impact of a student completing two years or more of college with no cost to the family can change the trajectory of the student’s entire life.”

It lets college-bound students complete core classes that transfer to both Technical College System of Georgia and University System of Georgia institutions, as well as many private colleges and universities. Students eager to join the workforce sooner than later can start their career-focused technical education while still in high school.

Additionally, the grant will also support scholarships for Gwinnett Tech students seeking computer science careers, one of the most in-demand industries with over 500,000 open jobs.

“AT&T Aspire drives innovation in education, ensuring all students have the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond,” said Rich Johnson, AT&T’s Georgia director of external affairs. “The initiative aspires to remove barriers to academic success and career growth and help all students — regardless of age, gender or income — make their biggest dreams a reality.”

In other news

The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation and Good Sports, a national nonprofit, continue their initiative to keep Georgia kids active through equipment donations to youth sports programs and schools across the state. A total of 20 organizations, selected by the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation Program Committee, received brand-new sports equipment, apparel and footwear valued at $113,700 in time for the fall season and new school year. Because of these donations, more than 6,050 children will have the opportunity to be participate in various sports and fitness activities.

Hollywood Feed recently donated more than 6,300 cans of cat food to Planned PEThood of Georgia as part of its You Buy, We Give program. The donation is enough food to feed about eight felines for an entire year. During the You Buy, We Give campaign, customers purchase select products and Hollywood Feed donates those same products to local shelters and animal rescue groups in need. Items include shelter necessities like food, flea and tick prevention, pet shampoo, identification tags, beds, chew toys and more.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Who’s doing good?Each Tuesday, we write about charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To suggest an event for us to cover, contact Devika Rao at