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Three Receive SECU Cont Ed. Scholarships

SECU Advisory Board Member Donnie Lee (left) and SECU Senior Vice President Rich Hutson (right) present SECU Continuing Education Scholarships to PCC students Shaquita Dickens, Heather Speight and Shmekka Yarrell, left to right.

GREENVILLE—State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) members—through their member-funded SECU Foundation—awarded $750-SECU Continuing Education Scholarships to three Pitt Community College students this month.

Receiving scholarships Feb. 11 were Greenville’s Shmekka Yarrell and Shaquita Dickens and Grimesland’s Heather Speight. Yarrell and Dickens are enrolled in PCC’s Phlebotomy National Certification course while Speight, a PCC Horizons student, is taking the Nursing Assistant I course.

Launched in 2013, SECU’s scholarship program focuses on assisting the needs of North Carolina's unemployed and underemployed citizens, military veterans, and members of the N.C. National Guard seeking short-term job training for new careers or retraining to advance current job skills. Scholarship funding is applied to tuition and other expenses associated with eligible programs of study through the N.C. Community College System's Back-to-Work Program and continuing education courses.

“We are extremely grateful to the SECU Foundation for establishing the Continuing Education Scholarship two years ago,” said Sidette Boyce Brown, director of PCC Health Care Programs for Continuing Education. “The funds are absolutely crucial in attracting students to the field of health care, as well as assisting our students with returning back to the workforce in a swift manner.”

Brown says the scholarships will help offset the cost of the students’ tuition, books, uniforms, course supplies and state certification exam.

“Allowing the students to utilize the funds to purchase course supplies and state testing is extremely helpful, because those items are often seen as unallowable purchases through other types of grant funding,” she said.

Without scholarship funding through organizations like the SECU Foundation, Brown says many students miss out on educational opportunities that can have a profound impact on their lives.

“We need many more opportunities for our students, like the ones provided by the SECU Foundation,” she said. “The success of our students is certainly the result of their hard work and desire to achieve, but some students are able to realize their distant dreams of a high-quality education only when financial barriers are alleviated.”

Donnie Lee, a local SECU Advisory Board member, says the SECU Continuing Education Scholarship Program provides an excellent opportunity to assist North Carolina’s unemployed and underemployed citizens with career training and marketable job skills needed for today’s workplace.

“We look forward to the long-term success of these scholarship recipients as they build a better economic future for themselves, their families and our state,” Lee said.

With a $435,000-commitment to Continuing Education scholarships and SECU Foundation’s annual $580,000 “People Helping People” Community College Scholarships, the organization now provides more than $1 million each year to the N.C. Community College System.

A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has been providing the employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for 77 years.

With 1.9 million members, SECU provides services through 254 branch offices, 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 contact centers and a website, www.secu.org. The SECU Foundation, a 501c (3) charitable organization approved by the Internal Revenue Service, promotes local community development primarily through high-impact projects in the areas of education, health and human services.