( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) La’Tia Johnson And Divinity Rollen Share Their Story
ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya
Regarding education, not many receive the opportunity to try again or get a degree. In Kansas City, there is a program that offers job and educational opportunities for those who couldn’t apply to college or complete their education. Great Jobs KC launched by KC Scholars is a 501(c)(3) scholarship, offering tuition assistance for those who are approved for job training programs in high-paying high-demand industries. The program offers assessments to help scholars figure out which certificates will be a good choice and helps match them with programs to help them in their academic success. For six years, KC Scholars has helped 4,300 low to moderate-income women start or complete college degrees. Two primary examples of this are La’Tia Johnson and Divinity Rollen, who both have obtained unique stories during Women’s History Month regarding KC Scholars and Great Jobs KC.
Right now Great Jobs KC is accepting applications on an ongoing basis. This program has given many women career opportunities and helped families and communities change their lives. The program offers adult learners up to $10,000 per year for up to five years to use on college education. Let’s get into La’Tia Johnson and Divinity Rollen’s stories on how they chose Great Jobs KC by KC Scholars.
La’Tia Johnson almost missed her chance to be a part of KC Scholars she procrastinated her application submission in 2016. Now she is very educational-oriented and spreading the word about KC Scholars and how it helps people within the community. She earned her associate degree at Donnelly College then went to Rockhurst University and earned her degree in analytics and technology. “It opened the possibility of me finding out what I was passionate about. It made the difference between having a job and having a career. I was excited to explore new options,” says Johnson. After graduation she volunteered at KC Scholars she soon applied for a position and was hired to work for the organization.
Divinity Rollen is a 23-year-old new mom who moved to Kansas City in October 2022. She didn’t complete her college degree, and her future mother-in-law recommended she apply for a scholarship. She found medical coding and billing to be an interesting career route. “I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field but didn’t want to be in nursing. I like the administrative side of working with patients,” says Rollen. Great Jobs KC was a perfect fit for her, she could complete the program certification at home in a short period and then find a job that can help her with remote work since she is a new mother. “ I wanted something where I could be building a future for me and my family.” Rollen will finish in August to obtain a state license.
Interested in finding out more about KC Scholars, we conducted an interview asking about their scholarships, eligibility and application process.
Are there any new opportunities that Great Jobs KC offers?
During the selection process, what are the qualifications for an individual to be eligible to apply?
Adults 17+ need skills for better employment.
Adults 17+ looking to increase yearly income above $45,000.
High School graduates looking for an alternative to attending college.
Must meet income criteria.
Must live in one of the six counties served by KC Scholars. Missouri: Jackson, Cass, Clay, Platte. Kansas: Wyandotte and Johnson
Reach 50,000 people over the next 10 years with the following results:
-Ensure 80% of our scholars graduate from a skills training program.
-80% of adults secure careers paying $45,000-$85,000 within 6 months of earning the credential.
-80% retention after 1 year in their new career.
What other scholarships do you offer besides Great Jobs KC?
KC Scholars is one of the nation’s most effective college scholarship and support programs. Scholars provide four types of scholarships: college savings accounts (9th graders); traditional scholarships (11th graders), scholarships to adult learners who want to secure an industry-recognized credential or return to college to secure their associate or bachelor’s degree, and a short-term pathway program for adults who want to be trained with credentials within a year or less.
Scholars are unique because most students graduate debt free, and as a result of the intensive support provided to our scholars, the vast majority of our scholars graduate from college or their credentialing program and enter good careers. Students who are low- and moderate-income and reside in our six focal counties in the Kansas City Area (Kansas and Missouri) are eligible to apply. Over 90% of our scholars persist annually, and 75% of our traditional scholars are on track for on-time graduation. KC Scholars currently has 6,069 scholars and awards approximately 750 new scholarships annually. Our goal is to significantly expand our program and its impact in the coming years.
How would someone be able to join the team for KC Scholars?
View our HR VIDEO: Join Our Team – KC Scholars
What kind of community does KC Scholars present when you first joined their scholarship program?
Driven, fast-paced so we can keep changing lives every day.
Visit the Kansas City Scholars site to receive potential college scholarships to high school juniors, and adult learner scholarships to adults eighteen years or older. Great Jobs KC provides tuition assistance to training programs in healthcare, and information technology, construction, and manufacturing.
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