NEW PORT RICHEY — The road to a new trade might become more feasible and cost effective in Pasco County. After several months of working through the application process, word came last week that Marchman Technical Education Center has been approved to offer federal financial aid for some adult education programs offered at the school.
As early as January 2011, prospective students might be able to apply for a Pell Grant to fund their education in a variety of fields.
"It's very exciting," said Marchman principal Sheila Bryan, noting that the road to approval widened in 2008 after the school earned accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education. "There's a need for this, certainly with the unemployment rate. It's important that we can offer training at a facility here in Pasco County that students don't have to travel to. Right now many of them have to get training in Tampa or St. Pete."
Which programs qualify has yet to be determined as the school, which offers both adult and high school programs, must follow federal guidelines.
But there are a couple of definites.
"The nursing assistance program is too short in length, so that will not qualify, but the adult cosmetology program will," Bryan said.
While there are details to work out, this should help grow the adult program at the school and help develop a more skilled, local work force.
"This year we developed a full-time adult cosmetology program and we met the challenges with that," Bryan said. "This is just another facet.
"We feel it's worth it for the post-secondary students. We want to make it clear that we're not eliminating high school programs. We're trying to develop more opportunities for post-secondary students, because other than private schools, there are no programs like this available in Pasco County."