The program, BSCC's Second Opportunity System, serves 16- to 21-year-olds, and officials with the college expect it to assist 200 teenagers from Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Pickens and Walker counties in the next 12 months.
“This program equips young people with the skills they need to earn a GED, get a job and keep it,” Bentley said in a press release. “This is an excellent opportunity for residents seeking a more productive and rewarding life."
Sandi Sudduth, Walker County Career Coach for SOS, said she was ecstatic to hear the news of the grant.
"We've been blessed, and we've been able to serve a lot of students and this will allow us to continue to help even more," she said.
Sudduth said the funding means another year of operation for SOS, allowing the agency to reach its 10th anniversary. Sudduth said most youth outreach programs don't last longer than a few years.
Second Opportunity System serves teenagers who have withdrawn from high school or high school graduates who plan on getting a certification offered by a two-year college such as nursing or automotive repair.
SOS coaches provide basic job training skills, help with resumes and job interviews as well as courses on topics like preparation for the GED exam.
Sudduth said SOS career coaches serve as mentors to the teenagers and seek to introduce them to the careers possible through two-year college certifications.
For example, Sudduth said a group of 35 SOS participants went on a trip to Alabama Power's Gorgas Steam plant.
The teenagers met several employees there who described the training they had to undergo to land their particular career.
The funds for the grant come from the U.S. Department of Labor and are administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
For more information about the Walker County SOS program, contact Sudduth at 205-387-0511, ext. 5833.