Williamson College of the Trades received great praise for its unique mission in a recently published book by Robert Carr, Working Class to College, The Promise and Peril Facing Blue-Collar America.
The book examines the distress among low-income students who suffer with the ever widening financial gap associated with college costs. The book highlights ways to manage student loans and provides stories of hope and heartbreak of students who are coping with hardship while struggling to get a college degree.
Carr discusses his own blue-collar background as a teenager without much money who received a lucky break 50 years ago, allowing him to earn a college degree. He went on to found Heartland Payment Systems, a debit and credit card transaction company recently acquired by Global Payments.
After achieving great success in business, his next mission was founding the Give Something Back Foundation (Give Back), which provides mentors and scholarships to give Pell Grant-eligible students the opportunity to go to college and graduate debt-free. The charity has already prepaid for over 1,000 students to go to 14 colleges in five states, and continues to grow.
Williamson recently became the first college in Pennsylvania to become a Give Back partner college. During a ceremony, Carr personally presented Williamson president Michael Rounds with a check for $250,000 from Give Back, which was matched by Williamson trustee Richard Clemens. The gifts will allow 40 high school students to receive a free education at Williamson.
Carr said, “From the day I walked onto Williamson’s campus, I knew this institution would serve as an extraordinary option for the scholars in our program who wish to pursue an academic, trade, or technical career. It’s hard not to be impressed with the values-based environment here that fosters faith, integrity, diligence, excellence, and service.”
Rounds said, “Bob Carr’s book is compulsory reading for everyone concerned about the disparity of education in America, the high cost of college that leads to enormous student debt, and the need for clarity in career pathways for working class students. Bob’s inclusion of nontraditional vocational colleges like Williamson College of the Trades as a pathway to a successful career for students is another example of the innovative thinking that will provide our future workforce with talented young people. Bob Carr is truly a champion for the future of the working class.”