A Society of Plastics Engineers' section that covers parts of the hurricane-ravaged regions of Texas and Louisiana has created the Gulf Coast Hurricane Scholarship, through the SPE Foundation.
Richard Wagner, councilor of the Tex-LA-Gulf Section said the goal is to help sustain the local economy by providing skilled employees. Another reason for the new scholarships: to encourage people to remain in the region. Companies are experiencing a severe shortage of skilled people, he said.
``It's very apparent that people left the area and haven't come back,'' said Wagner in a May 8 interview at SPE-Antec 2006 in Charlotte.
Just before Antec began, section leaders endowed the scholarship for $32,000 through the SPE Foundation. The money is available to residents of the Gulf Coast area and their families impacted by the Gulf Coast hurricanes last year who wish to attend a college, university or technical school in plastics-related programs.
The money must be used at a school in the Gulf Coast, said Wagner, who works in technical service for film at Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP in Orange, Texas.
During phase one, which runs the first two years, one $6,000 scholarship will be offered for study at a four-year college or university. In addition, the endowment will provide two $2,000 scholarships for use at a junior college or technical institute.
For phase one, applicants must have been a resident of a county declared a national disaster area by President Bush because of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita or Wilma.
The longer-term plan calls for a phase two, starting in the third year. Each applicant will have to be a resident of a Gulf Coast state and must attend a university in a state in the region, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. One $4,000 scholarship will be available for a university or college. One two-year junior college or technical school award of $2,000 also will be offered.
Wagner said the Tex-LA-Gulf Section's goal is to reach a $100,000 endowment.