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Out-of-school youth can earn GED, industry credentials under new TCC grant

Tidewater Community College is the recipient of a grant from Opportunity Inc. that will develop an education and career training program for young people who are out of school and unemployed.

TCC’s new BRIDGE-Plus program, resulting from a $210,000 Out of School Youth Grant, will allow participants to earn their GED and attain career credentials in nine months or less.

Selected participants will start with GED preparation and college success skills classes at TCC’s Portsmouth Campus. After earning a GED, they will work toward a workforce occupational skills training certification.

The students will receive occupational training in fields that include:

  • Certified nurse assistant (CNA)
  • Welding
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Commercial Driver’s License – Trucking
  • CompTIA A+ certification
  • Medical billing and coding

Training in each of these areas leads to industry-recognized credentials that will prepare the students for a career.

Michelle Woodhouse, provost of the Portsmouth Campus, said the grant will give opportunity to young people who are not in the pipeline for employment because of low educational attainment or other adverse circumstances.

“The grant will afford young adults a pipeline to education and employment,” she said. “Ultimately we are looking to provide a skilled and enhanced workforce for the city of Portsmouth.”

The initial cohort of 30 students will begin in December. Selected participants must be between the ages of 16 and 24 and considered an Out of School Youth in accordance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

High school dropouts, the unemployed, foster children, runaways, homeless children, individuals with disabilities and children of currently incarcerated parents or legal guardians are among those who may meet eligibility requirements.

“Our longstanding partnership with TCC has enabled us to extend access to career and postsecondary education opportunities to more youth and young adults throughout Hampton Roads,” said Shawn Avery, president and chief executive officer of Opportunity Inc. “Our funding of this program is another step in the right direction, in terms of collaborating with education institutions to equip the emerging workforce with the skills necessary for in-demand jobs in the region.”

TCC will work with Portsmouth Public Schools, Portsmouth’s Office of Adult Education, Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Department of Social Services and Opportunity Inc. to identify eligible participants.

The grant is renewable for up to three years.

For information, contact Okema Bowers, coordinator of First Year Success on TCC’s Portsmouth Campus, at or 757-822-2219.