Millions of dollars in scholarships are still available to help unemployed and underemployed Nebraskans find work. The Workforce Retraining Initiative, administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) with federal CARES Act funding, is providing $16 million in community college scholarships to help people whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19 learn new skills and obtain high-demand jobs.
Each of Nebraska’s six community colleges is offering scholarships and courses under the Workforce Retraining Initiative. These programs are designed to help people acquire new skills or certifications that will lead to rewarding job and career opportunities. Scholarships will be available until the end of October, with training programs beginning over the next few months and most running until spring.
So far, over 1,500 scholarships have been awarded under the Initiative — leading Nebraskans to jobs in healthcare, information technology, construction and other industries where talent is needed.
“We can’t predict when some industries will return to business as usual, but we do know that there are sectors where the demand for talent is high,” said DED Director Anthony L. Goins. “There are rewarding jobs waiting for those willing to acquire additional skills and education. This partnership with the community college system will provide Nebraskans with a clear path to new economic opportunities and a bright future.”
Scholarship recipients who meet income qualifications are eligible for support to offset childcare and transportation costs. Scholarships for required books, tools and other student-provided materials are available to any recipient, regardless of income. Individuals who receive a scholarship can also request a continuation of their current unemployment benefits while participating in an approved training program; the weekly job search requirement would then be eliminated while recipients complete their training.
“We are working closely with the Nebraska Department of Labor to make this opportunity as accessible as possible,” Goins said.
For more information on eligibility, as well as community college contact information, see below. Interested applicants should begin the process as soon as possible, as the application deadline is only weeks away. To learn more about the Workforce Retraining Initiative, or to view frequently asked questions, visit https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov.
Individuals who are currently unemployed or underemployed as a result of COVID-19 are eligible for a scholarship; specifically, if they fall under any of the following employment situations (note that each community college also has its own eligibility requirements):
- Unemployed on or after March 13, 2020, as a result of COVID-19.
- Unemployed starting between January 1, 2020, and March 13, 2020, and now unable to find employment as a result of COVID-19.
- Employed for less than 40 hours a week at a job which provides the majority of monthly income (Primary Job) because of COVID-19 and wish to be employed full time.
- Employed temporarily at a Primary Job because of COVID-19 but wish to be employed permanently.
- Furloughed or laid-off from a Primary Job on or after March 13, 2020, because of COVID-19 (or had to close a self-run business which provided the majority of monthly income because of COVID-19) and now employed at a new Primary Job with lower wages than previous employment.
Scholarship Application Info:
Interested applicants can apply for scholarships at any of the following Nebraska community colleges:
- Central Community College (CCC)
- Metropolitan Community College (MCC)
- Mid-Plains Community College (MPCC)
- Northeast Community College (NECC)
- Southeast Community College
- Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC)