GHC receives $1.1 million grant for Educational Opportunity Center; $250,000 for mental health services pilot

Grays Harbor College was awarded a $1.1 million federal grant to open a TRiO Educational Opportunity Center (EOC). 

According to the school, the five-year project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s TRiO division with the goal of increasing the number of participants from Grays Harbor County who enroll in post-secondary education.

The college announced that they plan to operate the EOC from an office in downtown Aberdeen, which will serve as an informational hub for current and prospective students.

Primarily focusing on adults, the EOC will provide career development, counseling, and admission-related services. 

The program will support high school completion and transition to vocational training, community college, and four-year institutions. 

An objective of the program is to counsel participants on financial aid options, including basic financial planning skills, and to assist in the application process.

The EOC will join two TRiO programs currently housed at the Aberdeen campus, Student Support Services and STEM Student Services. 

TRiO is comprised of eight federal programs designed to help students and prospective students with an emphasis on first-generation and low-income individuals.

“TRiO has been serving Grays Harbor College students since 2005. We are excited to expand on our efforts promoting the importance of educational access and student success in the community and to assist residents of Grays Harbor County in navigating the college search process at the EOC,” said Cal Erwin-Svoboda, the college’s vice president of student services.

Grays Harbor College was also awarded a $250,000 grant from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) to start a mental health counseling pilot program to serve students. If the pilot program is successful, the model could be utilized by colleges throughout the state. 

The college was one of four recipients out of a pool of 24 that applied for the SBCTC’s Mental Health Counseling and Services grant.

The college will hire a mental health counselor, coordinate a mental health training series, and work with community partners to develop a network of mental health support and counseling resources available to students in the community.

This pilot program is the second mental health-related project brought forward by the Associated Students of Grays Harbor College (ASGHC). 

ASGHC initiated a campus-based chapter of Hope Squad, a national suicide intervention program, in 2020.