A partnership between Automatic Data Processing and three local colleges was recently announced as one of six finalists for the first annual STEM Awards, sponsored by the Technology Association of Georgia and the TAG Education Collaborative.
ADP gave Augusta Technical College, Augusta State University and Paine College $600,000 in 2009 to establish the ADP Scholars Program, a scholarship and mentoring program that is open to students studying science, technology, engineering or math. ADP renewed the program this year for another three years, awarding $675,000 for the three colleges to use for more scholarships.
The program has helped more than 100 students, according to TAG Education Collaborative chief operating officer Melanie Brandt, and was selected as a finalist because of the cooperative aspect between the three schools and the program’s community-wide impact. The judges also appreciated that scholarship recipients were not only helped financially, but were also set up with mentors and advisors.
“It seems to be having the kind of impact we like to see,” Brandt said.
The STEM Awards were started as a way to provide positive recognition for institutions working to solve the “STEM crisis,” the growing need for qualified workers in science, technology, engineering and math. Brandt said Georgia will need to fill 211,000 STEM-related jobs by 2018.
Beverly Peltier, the director of institutional advancement at Augusta Technical College, said the ADP Scholars program has allowed students to pursue their education with less financial stress and additional encouragement. She said she hopes even just the recognition as a finalist will hopefully put a spotlight on what ADP has done and encourage other businesses to do the same.
“It’s becoming more and more difficult for students to find ways to finance their education,” she said. “This allows these students to really spend more time on their education.”
The winner will be announced at an event on Sept. 14 in Savannah.
“Being a finalist, and hopefully a winner, will really put a spotlight on what Augusta has to offer,” Peltier said.