AFL Funds Emergency Student Needs for STEM Students

AFL, an international manufacturer headquartered in Spartanburg, has awarded $10,000 to the Greenville Tech Foundation to assist students at the college who are enrolled in STEM programs when they experience emergency financial needs that may prevent them from progressing in their education.

In addition to tuition and fees, the cost of education for many programs includes uniforms and equipment, toolkits, and licensure fees. These costs can be an obstacle to graduation, especially when added to existing financial pressures. Fifty-six percent of students at Greenville Technical College have experienced housing or food insecurity. Half of all students qualify as low income. Last year, the Greenville Tech Foundation distributed $75,000 to 165 students with emergency needs. Those funds paid the rent, kept the water on, and assisted with transportation, allowing students to overcome temporary challenges.

With the assistance of AFL, students enrolled in STEM programs will be able to finish their degrees and enter the workforce. STEM careers are growing twice as fast as other professions in the U.S., constituting 90 percent of the best paying jobs straight out of college. This growth has created a situation in which demand for qualified job applicants is high, outpacing the supply of STEM workers.

“AFL is helping us create qualified workers for STEM openings,” said Ann Wright, vice president for advancement with the Greenville Tech Foundation. “Too often, students drop out of college when they face unexpected financial challenges. By eliminating these financial hurdles for STEM students, we should see more students graduate with the skills needed to succeed and more employers able to grow because their workforce needs are met.”

Photo Caption: Raymond James, Department Head for Mechatronics, Computer Numerical Controls and Machine Tool Technology;  Jacqueline Burrows, STEM Student of the School of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, Kimberly Shell, Greenville Tech Foundation Development Officer; and Carolyn Watkins, Dean of Student Services at Center for Manufacturing Innovation.