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Financial Assistance
For GED, Skill Certifications
& Expungements

Residents of the City of Columbia's Redevelopment or Opportunity Zones, specifically the Booker Washington and Belvedere neighborhoods, may qualify for financial assistance available to low-income individuals for the following:

  • Earning a High School Equivalency Diploma or GED

  • A required certification/licensure in their chosen career

  • A certification in a new career field. 

  • Expungement of a criminal record.


This service will pay for the GED test or up to $300 of the cost of professional certification or licensure (careers like, but not limited to, cosmetology, Commercial Driver’s License, or Food Service). 

The Cooperative Ministry aims to reduce barriers to more productive engagement in the workforce. The target is underemployed and unemployed adults who wish to enhance their qualifications for jobs that enable households to be financially self-sufficient. Assistance is provided in the form of financial help to reduce barriers to career progression, such as the lack of necessary credentials or tools.

This service is funded, in part, by a grant from the City of Columbia, SC 

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To increase the economic self-sufficiency of people experiencing poverty in the Midlands through crisis assistance and sustainability programs.