The A-B Tech Foundation has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Walnut Cove Members Association’s (WCMA) Coronavirus Emergency Grant Fund and $25,000 from the SEH Tabitha Foundation.
The funds will go directly to the Jan and Dennis King Student Emergency Fund to help students with housing security, living expenses, education and job training.
“Many students have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 as they work in the hospitality, restaurant, and tourism industry,” said Amanda Edwards, Executive Director of A-B Tech College Advancement. “The current directive to delay issuing eviction orders does not mean that students do not have to pay rent, just that they are not to be evicted right now.”
Over the last month, there were 29 requests to A-B Tech’s Student Emergency Fund totaling more than $12,000. Fifty-eight percent of those requests were for rent and utility bills up from 11 percent the previous academic year. Funds from the WCMA grant will be used for any emergency needs except food.
“The Foundation has raised funds from Board members, Trustees and friends of the College over the last two weeks,” Edwards said. “These emergency requests already surpass the amount of funds raised and the Foundation is supplementing that balance with limited resources.”
While A-B Tech was able to transition 96% of its curriculum classes online in only two weeks, several occupational programs that require “hands-on” training have been temporarily suspended until students can complete classwork in person, thereby delaying their opportunity to graduate and obtain employment.
“When students are able to go back to work, and hopefully are able to find gainful employment, the need for emergency funds will level out or decrease,” said Edwards. “But right now, the most vulnerable students are coping with the possibility of withdrawing from their education, the one thing that is their best chance for overcoming the financial setbacks they are facing today.”
About A-B Tech Community College
Founded in 1959 in the heart of Asheville, A-B Tech is the largest higher education institution in Western North Carolina, serving more than 23,000 students a year in Buncombe and Madison counties. One of 58 community colleges in the NC Community College System, A-B Tech offers more than 120 degrees, diplomas and certificates, as well as a wide range of workforce training and continuing education programs.
Now celebrating its 60th year, A-B Tech includes the main Asheville campus, A-B Tech Enka (home of the A-B Tech Small Business Center and Business Incubation Program, Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast and N.C. BioNetwork), A-B Tech Madison, A-B Tech South, and A-B Tech Woodfin.
Learn more at abtech.edu.