TAMPA, Fla. — There are still spots available for Hillsborough Community College's rapid credentialing program, but the money runs out fast.
Using a grant, the college plans to give 300 people free tuition and books in 30 different study fields.
The grant is from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Atwater said the college wants to help lower Hillsborough County's unemployment rate, currently at 15%.
"The idea is to jump-start the economy, what's the best way to do that give people jobs," said Dr. Ken Atwater, president of HCC. "And, how do we reduce that we get people to be employable and how do you do that you have to train people and get people credentialed."
According to HCC, "based on the 2020-2021 regional demand occupations list, individuals who completed the Rapid Credentialing programs and courses are expected to earn an annual average salary of approximately $37,600 and contribute over $8 million in salary to the economic development of the Tampa Bay area."
"These grants that we have really helps the unemployed the underemployed are the people who have been impacted by the virus to come back for free tuition and free books," Dr. Atwater said.
Atwater said time is running out, interested applicants should apply now.
"We've already awarded though about 50 percent, and I think we have about 40 percent in the pipeline for awarding on the governor's release fund," Dr. Atwater said. "So, if someone is interested, come now, don't wait, get involved, come back because we think there is a pathway for you to get credentialed."
To qualify you must be a resident of Hillsborough County and were furloughed or lost your job due to the pandemic.
To apply to the program, click here.