United Way of the Coastal Empire has selected Savannah Tech as its Strategic Initiative Partner

#1418 | October 31, 2013

$290,000 grant to support economic independence

SAVANNAH – United Way of the Coastal Empire announced today that it selected Savannah Technical College as a strategic initiative partner for economic independence with a grant for $290,000.

“United Way is excited to provide funding to support Accelerating Opportunity, a nationally recognized workforce development program at Savannah Technical College,” said Gregg Schroeder, President and CEO of United Way of the Coastal Empire. “This new funding venture creates more than just jobs. It will provide individuals with the education and work-related skill-set enabling them to positively change their lives.Connecting unemployed and low-income individuals to jobs with family supporting wages is the goal of our Economic Independence impact area.”

Economic Independence is one of the impact areas of particular importance for United Way of the Coastal Empire. The goal of this grant is to build career pathways that provide career advancement opportunities for lower-skilled workers and job seekers to obtain family-supporting wages. Research indicates that communities with a stable, skilled workforce are more economically competitive and have the potential to provide improved opportunities for residents by attracting businesses and revitalizing neighborhoods.

“We appreciate the United Way’s support of our workforce development programs and applaud its visionary support of economic independence,” said STC President Dr. Kathy Love. “We know that those without a high school diploma have challenges gaining securing meaningful employment. This program will provide a combination of GED® preparation classes and training that will put these students on the path to self-sufficiency. Their success will create a ripple effect throughout our communities.”

The Board of Directors of United Way of The Coastal Empire (UWCE) set aside $290,000 from last fall’s annual charitable giving campaign for a Strategic Initiative; an opportunity to identify and invest in an innovative strategy that effectively addresses a need in the community. After extensive workshops with UWCE partners and stakeholders throughout the spring and summer of 2013, the focus of the Strategic Initiative turned to the area of Economic Independence and UWCE invited funding proposals for a multifaceted strategy that is effective in connecting individuals to employment with self-sustaining wages. The UWCE Vision Council received 12 submissions, and the Accelerating Opportunity program of Savannah Technical College stood apart as an innovative approach to creating career opportunities, while augmenting UWCE investments in other services across our community.

Accelerating Opportunity employs an evidence-based, nationally recognized best practice approach to Career Pathways training that focuses on linking training, basic skills education, and credentialing to high demand jobs that provide adults a pathway to a family sustaining wage ($12/hour with benefits, $15/hour without benefits). The program recruits from career pathways that not only represent high demand job opportunities and pay family-supporting wages, but also offer opportunities for career advancement.

Traditionally, students must possess a high school/GED® prior to enrolling in courses that lead to a degree or certificate. Through Accelerating Opportunity, students will be enrolled in GED®-prep classes, while accelerating their training for work. The collaboratively taught classes integrate basic skills with practical, occupational training that build toward degrees and/or certificates. Students will work with a career navigator that will help them succeed in the program, overcome obstacles, and ultimately graduate with the credentials.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a person with a high school or GED® credential earns $10,000 more annually than a non-high school graduate. The income level increases substantially for those who go on to complete a college certificate, diploma or degree program. There are more than one million adult-aged Georgians who do not have a high school education or GED® diploma. More than 50,000 of these adults live in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties.

Savannah Technical College is now accepting students into three programs for Accelerating Opportunity for spring 2014: aircraft structural, patient care technician and welding. This program is geared to unemployed or underemployed adults without a GED® or high school diploma. For more information about Accelerating Opportunity, please contact STC’s Dean of Adult Education Brent Stubbs (912.443.5352 or


About United Way of the Coastal Empire

The mission of United Way of the Coastal Empire is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities.United Way conducts an annual fundraising campaign and invests donor contributions in programs and services within four impact areas: Education & Youth Development, Economic Independence, Health & Wellness and Basic Human Needs. United Way serves Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. United Way is a volunteer driven organization that involves hundreds of community leaders, professionals and other volunteers in every aspect of our business, including fundraising, marketing and funding decisions, to ensure that your donations are truly making a difference.

Thanks to the Herschel V. Jenkins Trust Fund and other income which covers almost all administrative and fund raising costs, donor contributions go to help people in need. In addition, United Way of the Coastal Empire has earned Charity Navigator’s highest level four- star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability for the fifth consecutive year. Only five percent of the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator have received at least five consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that United Way of the Coastal Empire is an exceptional organization. For more information, please visit


About Savannah Technical College and STC’s Adult Education Program

Savannah Tech’s Adult Education Program serves those who need to improve their basic literacy and math skills, improve their oral and written English, practice for the GED® test to attain a high school equivalence degree, and prepare for college. Instructors also help students with science and social studies test preparation for GED® testing. STC teaches adult education classes in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties with multiple locations in each community. Adult education classes for GED®-prep are currently free for all U.S. citizens.



Accelerating Opportunity/STC Adult Education Contact: Brent Stubbs
912.443.5352 or

STC Media Contact: Amy Shaffer, APR
912.443.5512 or

Savannah Technical College serves Coastal Georgia with quality, market-driven technical education with campus locations in Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. Serving more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students annually, Savannah Tech offers nearly 150 different instructional programs in Aviation Technology, Business and Professional Services, Industrial Technology, and Health Sciences in addition to Adult Education classes, industry-specific training and continuing education. The College serves as an economic and community development partner for the region, offering corporate and customized training and assessment programs for business and industry.

Savannah Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees, diplomas and technical certificates of credit. Questions about the accreditation of Savannah Technical College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (