Shawn Welker is just one of the students who qualified for the E-Pathways program. He's currently pursuing a Computer Programmer Analyst Associate's Degree at Lansing Community College.
"Before this I've been kind of bouncing around from job to job which is unfortunate. I received my Bachelor's Degree way back in 1998," Welker said.
That was a degree in history and now he's hoping to make a career change into the IT field. He's able to do the two-year program for free because of a $4.4 million federal grant obtained by Capital Area IT Council in 2011. It expires in 2015, which means those who still want a shot at getting a fully-funded two-year degree must apply now. As for who's eligible for the scholarship? That's evaluated on a case-by-case basis by Michigan Works.
"Making it through eligibility and suitability, then that person is on track for their new career in IT," said Andrea Ragan, Executive Director at Capital Area IT Council.
Eligibility means being unemployed or underemployed. Suitability is determined by an employer who reviews the application.
"Because we want to ensure that they're hirable once they complete training," said Ragan.
Program coordinators say the chance of getting employed is looking good because the IT industry in Mid-Michigan is booming.
"We've had quite a few students get student positions with the state, we've had people get hired by a local bank, local hospital," said Sarah Linz, the E-Pathways coach at Lansing Community College.
People interested in the program are encouraged to apply soon by visiting epathways.org.