|Updated: 6/19 12:13 am
||Published: 6/19 12:10 am
The sounds of celebration echoed through City Hall in Downtown Tulsa on Tuesday night as nearly four-dozen people graduated from a special program that turns unemployment into opportunity.
"So many times in society we get handouts but this is a hand up," said Dwayne Oliver, a graduate.
He is one of 46 students that graduated. He was laid off three days before joining the program. There were doubts.
"How you going to make ends meet?" he questioned.
However, his daughter gave him inspiration to complete to go back to school.
Since then, he's been working at M&M manufacturing.
"They prepare you in such a way, it's like a fitting glove," said Oliver. "To get a free scholarship and receive a level of training to receive not only a minimum wage but a decent living."
Transportation Connections Work Advance was modeled after one used in New York City. We've learned the organization focuses on the labor needs in Tulsa such as manufacturing, aerospace and transportation.
The federally funded grant provides a scholarship that pays for tuition, books and even provides gas cards.
"Hard work with training and advancement services can really change someone's career," said Program Director Christopher Bernhardt.
"I've had student loans before, you have to pay them. This is a situation where you don't have to pay it back. They are truly reaching out to you to give you that opportunity to succeed," said Oliver.
Twenty spots need to be filled by Monday. Tulsans can apply for the program by calling 918-442-2200 or visiting the TCW office any Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to attend orientation. It is at 907 S. Detroit Ave, Suite 830, Tulsa, OK 74120. Spots are limited.