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A scholarship from the Carroll County Training Consortium provided Mary Hawkins with opportunities that led to a full-time job in quality assurance at Dow Corning’s Carrollton plant.
The scholarship paid Hawkins’ full tuition at Jefferson Community and Technical College and for all of her books for her two-year degree in Applied Process Technology.
The training consortium is currently seeking applications for this year’s grant with a deadline of Nov. 7 for adults or non-traditional students, according to coalition member Lisa Stethen, coordinator of academic programs at JCTC.
To apply, contact Stethen for an application or additional information.
“You can’t lose,” Hawkins said. “It’s one of the best things that happened to me.”
A 2009 Carroll County High School graduate, Hawkins decided to leave home and attend Eastern Kentucky University seeking a major in athletic training.
“ I found out it wasn’t for me … I was so homesick and I had forces from here pulling me back to home,” Hawkins said. “So I decided to come closer home and that brought me back to Carrollton.”
Once she returned, she said she was talking to some folks at Dow Corning and learned about the adult scholarship offered through the Carroll County Training Consortium.
“I applied and received a full scholarship including books and tuition and an internship at Dow Corning,” she said. Hawkins’ scholarship was funded by Dow Corning.
“After I graduated, I applied for a full-time position in the Quality Assurance Lab, and they offered the job to me,” she said.
Through her scholarship, Hawkins had on the job experience working as an operations co-op at Dow Corning.
“Through my college, I took a lot of chemistry and I found a love for chemistry and so that’s when I realized the lab is the place I would like to be,” she said.
“It just worked out nicely that by the time I graduated, they had a job opening,” Hawkins said.
Dow Corning Human Resources Manager Jebron Hardesty said the consortium’s scholarship program is designed to bring workers, such as Hawkins, on the job at local industries.
“It gives them an inside track to find full-time employment with us,” he said. “We need more students interested in these career fields.”
The consortium – made up of North American Stainless, Dow Corning, Gallatin Steel, Steel Technologies, Dorman and PMC Organometalix — awards two scholarships each year. One goes to a graduating student at the high school in May and the other is awarded to a non-traditional student each fall.
Stethen said there are no guarantees of employment with the scholarship. “It gets their foot in the door,” she said.
The consortium started in 1997, secretary Jill Ralston of PMC Organometalix said. The first several years, only one scholarship funded by the participating industries was awarded. About four years ago, the adult scholarship was added, she said.
Members of the consortium are hoping they don’t see a repeat of last year when no one applied for the adult scholarship and it was not filled.
Hawkins received her associates degree in Applied Process Technology, which focused her on chemistry, physics, math, lots of hands-on work with instrumentation and offers the concepts of engineering, she said.
Hawkins said JCTC’s programs are aligned to help students prepare for positions in the manufacturing industry, she said.
She had found a love for the sciences while still in high school.
“That’s why I started out in athletic training because I loved science and biology and that kind of thing,” she said.
Hawkins said she was a co-op student at Dow Corning while she attended high school. She encourages others interested in trade skills to take a look at the scholarship program. Hawkins said they do need more applicants.
“I don’t have any student loans,” she said. “I just bought a new car and I’m getting ready to take a trip to Brazil. If it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t have been able to financially be able to do any of that.”
Hawkins said she found she wanted to stay around here in this region because of her family.
“I’m really happy,” the 21-year-old said.
As she works at Dow Corning as a lab technician, Hawkins is eyeing her opportunity to advance by earning her bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Dow Corning, where she said she wants to stay and work, offers assistance through a tuition reimbursement program.