INA, Ill. – The North Hamilton County Coal Association has amped up its support for Rend Lake College students by creating a $10,000 scholarship endowment aimed at helping the children of its membership.
The North Hamilton County Coal Association Scholarship Award will be handed out annually to students who earn at least a 2.0 GPA, are enrolled in the mining technology program at RLC – or a related program like industrial electronics and welding – and are the sons or daughters of a member of the NHCCA. Secondary priority will be given to a son or daughter of a NHCCA member who is majoring in an agricultural program. Third priority will be for a mining or agriculture student at RLC who is from Hamilton County.
NHCCA President Joe Bernard met last week at the college with RLC Foundation CEO Pat Kern to make the scholarship official. Kern said an endowment is considered the best gift because it keeps giving through a guaranteed return of five percent.
“The Association has stepped up to the plate with a scholarship for students in a program ready to explode and we need scholarships in that area,” Kern said of coal mining technology at RLC.
Bernard said the mining program is the reason members of the NHCCA Board chose to sponsor a scholarship to RLC last year. Two annual scholarships of $1,000 per student began last year. The 2010 recipient was Robert Rubenacker of Dahlgren.
The Association has more than 600 members and works to get each member the best deal regarding mining rights for their land, Bernard said. He said North Hamilton County includes roughly 36,000 acres.
Terry Wilkerson, an employee at the college and member of the NHCCA Board, said, “This is an opportunity for the Association to help give back to the community. Sitting on the board and working at the college, I will see this investment in the future first hand.”
Wilkerson is chairman of the Applied Science and Technology Division at RLC, which umbrellas the coal mining technology program. He said the program, which will begin its third year in the new state-of-the-art Coal Mining Training Center this coming fall semester, is getting interest and gaining steam.
“We are getting a lot of interest,” Wilkerson said. “We have an excellent placement rating of graduates in area coal mines right now and the college has good rapport with the mines, which are encouraging their workers to continue their education.”
Bernard and Wilkerson said the Association saw a scholarship endowment as a smart way to build support long into the future for RLC students.