JACKSON, Miss. – A Northeast Community College graduate has been recognized for past excellence in and out of the classroom.
Tait Ziems and 47 others from across the nation were named 2020 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars by the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society earlier this year. They were formally recognized during the annual Association of Community College Trustees’ Congress in October. The Congress was held virtually this year.
Ziems, of Plainview, graduated with an associate of applied science degree in automotive technology in May 2020. In addition to being named a New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar, he receives a $1,250 scholarship.
The scholarship is the first of its kind to support students at associate degree-granting institutions on a national scale as they plan to enter the workforce upon the completion of a degree or certificate. The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Phi Theta Kappa.
“We believe education holds an extraordinary promise to change lives,” said Helen Smith Price, president, The Coca-Cola Foundation. “We hope that providing these college scholarships to deserving students will enable them to realize their full and unique potential.”
Ziems’ career goal is to become a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Master Technician and open his own mechanic shop.
“This is going to take a lot of hard work, but I am not one who will shy away from hard work,” he said. “When I set my mind to something, I go at it full force with everything I have to try and make my dream become a reality.”
Ziems said his time in college was invaluable, especially his participation in the Nebraska SkillsUSA competition and working during an internship at Norfolk GM Auto Center.
“Competing in Skills USA helped me show off what I have learned in my first year of automotive technology and it helped me see what I still had to learn in order to become master certified in the future,” he said. “The internship also confirmed that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life - working on cars.”
Ziems is also appreciative of the education he received from Northeast.
“Everything that I have learned and will learn are going to help me achieve my goals in the future. My instructors are very knowledgeable, and I asked them a lot of questions in order to better understand how things work … .”
New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. Over 2,200 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Workforce Scholar has been selected from each state.
“We congratulate Tait for receiving this prestigious scholarship, and we are honored to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation to recognize his outstanding achievements,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Phi Theta Kappa president and CEO. “Scholarship programs like this are integral for creating opportunities for students to succeed as they prepare to enter the workforce and for putting college completion within reach.”
This is the second consecutive year a Northeast student has been named a New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar. Preston Dickau, of Atkinson, earned the designation in 2019. He graduated from Northeast in May 2019, with a degree in autobody repair technology.