Scholarship Boosts Workforce Training

Four Mid-Shore students are pursuing skilled trades training this year thanks to the William O. “Billy” Bryan Workforce Training Scholarship at Chesapeake College.

“This gift helped us with our new initiative to expand scholarship opportunities for students in our noncredit workforce training programs,” said President Cliff Coppersmith. “The majority of our current scholarships are for students in credit programs that lead to associate degrees or transfer to a four-year college. There are few scholarship opportunities for students in workforce training such as our trades programs, since these programs do not qualify for federal financial aid.”

The Bryan Brothers Foundation, dedicated to “building dreams for youth” on the Eastern Shore, established the scholarship to help students meet their career goals.

“We wanted to help students who will go on to help the community,” Jason Bryan said. “My father was a student at Chesapeake. He passed in 2010 and we wanted to keep his legacy going with something that was important to him. Chesapeake was near and dear to his heart. Bryan and Sons need people who weld and have other trades skills. They (skilled trades students) don’t get financial aid, so this is a way to help these students and train workers who will help local businesses.”

Two of the four 2018-19 scholarship recipients include Nicholas Pritchett of Linkwood and Andrew Stenger of Rock Hall. Both are in the welding program.

The student recipients say the scholarships are allowing them to improve their skills and pursue fulfilling careers.

“I’ve always been interested in welding, but I need the certification. These classes are helping me take a passion and turn it into a career,” said Andrew, who works full time at Long Cove Marina. Once certified in welding, Andrew hopes to continue his training in deep sea underwater welding.

Nicholas is also working in the field and says the scholarship is helping him meet career goals.

“Thanks to this scholarship I’m able to learn something that I’ve wanted to do and get certification. I want to be a structural welder. I dropped out of high school and came here to get a GED. The staff encouraged me to go further,” he said. “Coming to Chesapeake is the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve gone from not wanting to be in school to loving school. I look forward to coming to class in the evenings.”

Chesapeake currently offers trades training in commercial truck driving, CAD, electric, HVAC, and welding. More programs are in development. For more information about Skilled Trades programs, contact Tom Ellis at tellis@chesapeake.edu.

Founded in 1965 as Maryland’s first regional community college, Chesapeake College serves five Eastern Shore counties – Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot. With more than 130,000 alumnae, Chesapeake has 2,300 students and almost 10,000 people enrolled in continuing education programs.

Members of the Bryan family recently toured the welding lab at Chesapeake College and met two recipients of the William O. “Billy” Bryan Workforce Training Scholarship. Director of Skilled Trades Tom Ellis (left) and President Cliff Coppersmith joined Nicholas Pritchett, Kim Mull, Kasey Mull, Jason Bryan, and Andrew Stenger on the tour.
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