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OTC Students Receive Start-up Tools for Work Success

Aara Sweat and Kristy Rich were recently selected as 2012 recipients of the Okefenokee Technical College Foundation Workforce Toolbox Scholarship. The OTC Foundation gives this award to select graduating students of Okefenokee Tech who have demonstrated excellence in their field of study.

Workforce scholarship recipients are awarded tools related to their educational and career field in order to make them more marketable as they enter or advance in the workforce.
Among the items awarded to Aara and Kirsty were a color fusion kit, trimmer & clippers, organic shampoo and conditioner, a Derma organic bacubar kit, and embossed foil pre-cut sheets. Both students received tools valued at a little over $300.

Aara and Kristy completed the Alma campus cosmetology program December 2011 and graduated January 2012. They were both recommended for the toolbox award by their instructor, Ms. Ollie Harkleroad, and hired by Dorinda Parker of Changes Hair & Nail Salon.

Kristy Rich, a 1996 Bacon County graduate, is married to Andy, and they have two children. Rich was a superb student, making the President’s List every term.

When asked about her experience at OTC, Rich said, “OTC offered me the opportunity to better myself. Just as the Foundation gave me these tools, OTC gave me the skills I needed to start my career. I am 100% confident OTC will do it for others, as well.”

Aara Sweat graduated from Coffee High School (2009), is married to Ryan Sweat, and sings in a Gospel group called “Hand of Grace.” She and Ryan have one child, Emilee. Aara grew up in Douglas. Her dad, Mike Womack, raised her after Aara’s mother passed away in 2004. In her scholarship application, Sweat expresses her gratitude to her father and other family members. She credits God with changing her educational plans and putting OTC “right in front of me.” Aara notes, “I have been thankful for that ever since.”
 
“OTC helped me in so many ways,” writes Sweat. “Educationally, the instructors did an amazing job. Workwise, OTC helped me get my foot in the door. The door opened for me to begin work at Changes just a couple of weeks before I completed the cosmetology program, and working here has been a blessing.”

Aara is a member of the National Honor’s Society and also had excellent grades in the program.

The money to fund workforce scholarships comes from proceeds of the OTC Foundation’s annual “Tee It Up For Tools” golf tournament and from direct donations to the Toolbox Scholarship fund.

“The best part about this program is the tangible benefit to students. It’s easy to connect the dots and see the direct connection between what the Foundation does and how the student benefits,” states OTC Foundation Executive Director Cindy Tanner. “Because of this connection, workforce awards are practical and accelerate careers.”

workforce scholarship

Photo:
Kate Bussey (left) and Ollie Harkleroad (right) of Okefenokee Technical College and Dorinda Parker, owner of Changes Hair & Nail Salon, were on hand to congratulate recent OTC graduates Aara Sweat (2nd from left) and Kristy Rich (center) for being named OTC Foundation 2012 Workforce Scholarship recipients. Workforce scholarships provide deserving students with start-up tools for work. Harkleroad is the nominating instructor for both graduates, who were supplied with a number of salon essentials, such as clippers, hair styling products, and color kits. Dorinda, Aara, and Kristy invite everyone to visit them at Changes and ask for “the special.”

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