Boca Raton, FL – Palm Beach State College has received a $ 75,000 grant from Lockheed Martin to help students in the Electrical Power Technology program overcome the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Through the Impact Grant, 24 students in the Associate of Science program received scholarships of $ 1,000 and an additional $ 300 to help purchase textbooks for this semester. The college has also purchased additional lab equipment and take-home lab kits for students to continue to learn practical skills according to social distancing guidelines.
“Our current students are not lacking any of the practical skills they would normally have acquired before the pandemic,” said Professor Oleg Andric, Electric power technology department chair.
“Many of our students work in the hospitality industry to support themselves while attending university, and this industry has been disproportionately affected,” Andric continued. “It caused a lot of stress and uncertainty for our students. This grant not only provides economic support at this critical time, but has also assured students that they are needed and wanted by the aerospace industry. “
The global security and aerospace company based in Bethesda, Md., Which has sites in Riviera Beach and Jupiter, is a long-time supporter of PBSC. Through its representation on the PBSC Commercial Partnership Council, Lockheed Martin helps ensure that students acquire the professional skills necessary for the job. In recent years, the company has funded or supported PBSC outreach programs and initiatives designed to introduce high school students to STEM fields. Several PBSC graduates have landed jobs or internships with the company.
“Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with Palm Beach State College in response to COVID-19 and the necessary changes in the way learning takes place,” said Meagan Campion, Lockheed Martin director of Social Impact. “Our partnership expands the possibilities for more students to stay enrolled in school and continue their distance learning and training.”
James Gilleran III is one of the scholarship recipients. After being reduced to his boat maintenance and repair job last year, he started his own business to make ends meet and was considering dropping out of school this semester. “The scholarship allowed me to continue my studies and work to support my family. Without it, my family could not afford to send me to school. I was very fortunate to have received this. For normal people like me and working class people, $ 1,000 can make or break. “
Gilleran, who is now enrolled full-time instead of part-time, said the impact of the pandemic on his work made him realize even more the need for a more stable career.
“It kind of started a fire. I realized that my job or my job could be affected and it was costing me my livelihood, ”he said. “I hope that an education will allow me to access a career as in demand as alternative energy.
Mohamed Aly Ag Mohamed Ansar, an international student from Mali who is in his second semester at PBSC, said he also appreciates the support. His father is funding his college education, but he lost the income from his second job in Mali due to the pandemic and current unrest. “It was very generous of them. It was really a relief for me. It helped me make my dream come true.
Serving 47,000 students per year, Palm Beach State College is the largest institution of higher education in Palm Beach County. Founded in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college, Palm Beach State offers more than 130 degree programs in Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Belle Glade, and Loxahatchee Groves.