September 23, 2023 – Denver Wilson has dreams of one day starting his own fabrication and custom automotive business. Now, thanks to a scholarship program offered by the State Employers Credit Union, he’s well on his way to securing the classes he needs that get him one step closer to that dream.
Wilson, of High Point, received the scholarship last semester and is one of 30 students at Davidson-Davie Community College who are each awarded a $500 scholarship from the SECU Foundation. Eleven of these students were honored during a reception at the Mary E. Rittling Conference Center on the Davidson Campus on Tuesday evening.
Annually, the Foundation awards the scholarships to students at the college as part of the SECU Bridge to Career program. The program aims at removing financial barriers for students who seek to obtain credentials through the Workforce Continuing Education Division of their local community college that lead to successful careers in their communities.
For Wilson, who is originally from Bristol, Va. and moved here for school and to plan for his future, that meant enrolling in welding courses at Davidson-Davie. “I’ve been a student at the college for about a year and a half, but I do plan on continuing my education there with other offered programs,” Wilson says.
The scholarship money means he can focus more on school and less about footing the registration and fees. “Without having to worry about how to pay for classes, the SECU scholarship was the perfect way to jumpstart my welding career,” he adds.
Jessica Warren, Coordinator of Workforce and Corporate Training at Davidson-Davie, notes there’s a high demand for welders in the area. “There’s a lot of companies moving in, looking for trained welders. It really seems like everyone needs them,” Warren says. Students studying HVAC, plumbing and carpentry – all fields that are currently in high demand – have also been awarded SECU scholarships as well.
Warren says she actively communicates these scholarship opportunities to students at the college via the website, word of mouth and more. In fact, that’s how Wilson found out about the scholarship opportunity. “I called her asking about joining the (welding) program, and she told me the SECU scholarship would help if you were looking for aid for the course,” Wilson says.
Ultimately, the college helps connect students to valuable opportunities like the SECU scholarships that, in the end, provides the community with individuals who have the right skillsets for local industries. “It’s about ‘People Helping People,’” Warren adds. “That’s the mission of the SECU.”
And Warren notes that the folks at the SECU really stand by their motto. “They really care about the students,” she says. “They get to know the recipients and are really involved in the whole process. They want to see how students are doing and what jobs they have. They are incredibly supportive.”
The SECU Bridge to Career Program, which began in 2018, is aligned with the state’s postsecondary education attainment goal to have 2 million working-age North Carolinians possess a high-quality postsecondary credential of labor market value by 2030. In order to be considered for funding through the program, prospective students must be a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina, be enrolled in a course leading to an NC Workforce Credential at the Essential or Career Level and must complete the coursework by Aug. 31, 2024. Students also much be unemployed, underemployed, a member of the NC National Guard, military veterans and spouses, or underserved populations in a specific workforce are or sector.
Photo Credit by Ali Albertson.
Davidson-Davie Community College (www.DavidsonDavie.edu), which incorporated Davie County into its name in 2021, is a fully accredited, multi-campus college where students of all ages and backgrounds pursue academic and career-focused education in order to build successful futures. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, Davidson-Davie offers more than 40 degree and professional certificate programs, as well as affordable college-credit coursework to students who plan to transfer to four-year schools. With a mission to serve the changing needs of students competing in a global environment, Davidson-Davie is committed to quality education, innovative and equitable learning experiences, training, and support across a wide range of 21st-century career fields.
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