Thirty students received $5,000 scholarships for the Advanced Manufacturing Program during a ceremony in their honor Tuesday night at Grayson College.

The students were presented with their respective certificates in the first scholarship awards ceremony for the program. AMP Chairman Mark Anderson said the program is all about helping students find careers with local employers following their high school education.

“We awarded 100 percent to all the students who applied,” Anderson said. “We had applications submitted through the high schools who had students going from sophomore year to junior year.”

Anderson said the program has grown in number of students entering the program as well as the number of schools participating each year. When the program started, it had 12 students from two high schools, Sherman and Denison. Now, there are five schools and 80 students in the program. The schools currently participating are Sherman, Denison, Pottsboro, S&S and Whitesboro.

Students and parents were given a tour of the advanced manufacturing facility at Grayson College following the awarding of the scholarships.

Anderson said the purpose of the program is to help recruit local students to those manufacturers in the area who are starting to see a significant portion of their workforce reaching retirement. The students not only have a chance to join the workforce after graduation but can thrive in Grayson County.

The program started in 2014 and includes partners ranging from Grayson College, the Sherman Economic Development Corp., Denison Development Alliance, the partner high schools and several employers in the area.

Anderson said the program is basically free education for the high school students who wish to enter the manufacturing sector out of high school. He said employers are invested in the program and highly likely to employ a student who completes the program with positions above entry level pay in many cases. The students who complete the program earn 41 college credits along with a certificate.

Anderson also said many of the employers provide tuition reimbursement for the students once hired.

The entire cost of the program is $5,000 including tuition and books. The scholarship pays for the entire class but can only be used for the courses in the program. Scholarship funding is provided by area employers as well as through state and federal grants.