A grant that enables certain technical education students in Georgia to receive free tuition now has a name that better reflects the grant’s goals.

The HOPE Career Grant, formerly known as the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant, is available to HOPE Grant-qualified students who enroll in select majors specifically aligned with one of 12 industries in which there are more jobs available in Georgia than there are skilled workers to fill them. These industries were identified by Governor Nathan Deal and the General Assembly as strategically important to the state’s economic growth. They are: certified engineer assistant, commercial truck driving, computer programming, computer technology, diesel equipment technology, early childhood care and education, health science, industrial maintenance, movie production/set design, practical nursing, precision manufacturing, and welding and joining technology. The number of certificates or diplomas in these 12 areas awarded to technical college students in the 2016 academic year was 16,514, up from 11,289 in 2013.

“We continuously seek ways to help our Georgia students attain a high-quality, affordable education that leads to a productive career,” said Gov. Deal. “This grant is an important piece in our tool kit of educational assets, and helps students prepare to enter those industries in the state that have the greatest workforce needs.”

“A Georgia student who qualifies for one of these grants pays absolutely no tuition, and in some cases the grants cover fees and equipment as well,” said Gretchen Corbin, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG. “We believe the new name will help students understand that a rewarding career is the end goal of the grant.”

Students at Columbus Technical College are among the thousands reaping the benefits of the HOPE Career Grant. Those enrolled in the following 25 diploma and/or certificate programs may be eligible: Basic Machinist, Child Development Specialist, Computer Forensic & Investigation Specialist, Certified Manufacturing Specialist, Nurse Aide, Central Sterile Supply Processing Technician, CNC Technology, Computed Tomography Specialist, Early Childhood Care/Education, Basic Shielded Metal Arc Welder, Game Development Specialist, Gas Metal Arc Welder, Industrial Electrician, Industrial Motor Control Technician, Industrial Systems Technology, Mammography, Medical coding, Medical Front Office Assistant, Machine Tool Technology, Advanced Shielded Metal Arc Welder, Practical Nursing, Phlebotomy Technician, Pharmacy Technology, Surgical Technology, Welding & Joining Technology.

To receive the HOPE Career Grant, students must first qualify for the HOPE Grant, which applies to diplomas and certificates only rather than the HOPE Scholarship, which applies to Associate and Bachelor degrees. The HOPE Grant is available for students of any age. A student can attend college part-time and does not have to have a specific high school GPA, but must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA after enrolling in college.

The HOPE Career Grant is also available to recipients of the Zell Miller Grant, which, in addition to HOPE Grant requirements, stipulates that students must maintain at least a cumulative 3.5 GPA at the end of each college term.