Reno, NV - As a former small business owner, Joe Stoltz didn't think he would be back at school at his age, attending Truckee Meadows Community College along with his 20-year-old son. But his flooring business couldn't survive in this economy.
"Flooring is kind of a luxury and people just kind of gave up on the old flooring. They could live with their floor a little while longer, without having it replaced, so here I am," says Stoltz.
He's at TMCC and now working on a one-year program to get a certificate in renewable energy. The hope is to switch careers. But being out of the workforce and paying tuition isn't cheap. And it's been hard on his family.
"My wife has been providing for my whole family," says Stoltz. "And I have a 20-year-old also here at TMCC and I have a freshman in high school, my daughter, and I have another son in sixth grade. So there's a lot going on in my house. It's been a huge strain on my wife."
That's why a new scholarship announced at the college could be just what Stoltz's family needs. It's called the Maxine S. Jacobs Foundation Presidential Scholarship. The goal is to help unemployed people like Joe Stoltz increase their skills so they can get a job in an industry that is hiring these days.
"The problem we've had is that many Nevadans have been in industries that have contracted. Namely construction," says Frank Woodbeck, director for the Department of Employment and Training Rehabilitation (DETR). "And construction's not coming back. Not as robustly in the near term so consequently they're going to reinvent themselves."
And this scholarship would pay for that retraining at TMCC.
"You know, i think it means a lot," says Dr. Maria Sheehan, president of TMCC. "Because we hear that you can't find a match of workers to the job skill needs. Well, right now we're doing that match. Because we know where the jobs are, we've enumerated them under this scholarship program. Now we can put students to where the jobs are located, instead of students with an education that doesn't match the job market needs. So this match is something that we're really thrilled about."
Joe Stoltz says anyone who can apply for the Presidential Scholarship should. And if he's chosen, it would mean...
"A lot!" says Stoltz. "It would be the whole, you know, the whole year of tuition and books and it would be amazing."
MAXINE S. JACOBS FOUNDATIN PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:
1. Have earned a high school diploma or GED
2. Currently be unemployed
3. Take a free College placement test to ensure preparation for College courses
4. Be able to enroll in at least two College courses, beginning spring 2013
5. Maintain a minimum 2.0 grad point average
6. Are interested in pursuing a pathway of study in one of the following fields:
-Accounting and bookkeeping
-Allied Health Programs: CNA, dental assisting, clinical laboratory specialist
-Business and administrative professionals
-Computer science and information technology
-Digital, graphic, and web design
-Industrial systems, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems
-Logistics and distribution
-Manufacturing and machining
-Renewable energy technicians
If you meet the criteria above or have questions about this opportunity, you can visit