Program Helps Columbia Woman Earn Nursing Degree

Aug. 19, 2019 – Earning a degree can be challenging, and one Columbia woman had a little help from a federal program administered by the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS).

Marquita Moss, a 33-year-old single mother of two, started the Project HOPE program in January of 2018, and this August, she completed her associate’s degree in nursing with a GPA of 3.0.

“I am very honored and grateful to have been selected as a recipient of the Project HOPE grant program,” she said. “Project HOPE has helped me accomplish my goal of completing my associate’s degree in nursing, which would have otherwise been a financial obstacle for my family and me.”

The goal of this program is to offer participants an opportunity to pursue a healthcare profession that provides sustainable wages to better support their families, said Wanda Bailey, SCDSS Director of Project HOPE.

“Project HOPE is about ‘Building Pathways to a Brighter Future,’” Bailey said. “With supportive services in place, a greater outcome is achieved for job placement and job retention. Participants are more likely to remain employed.”

The periodically held boot camps include basic skills training, introduction to healthcare, and hands-on training to enhance the success for students entering healthcare.  In addition, participants receive a CPR and medical terminology certifications during boot camps.

Moss attended Central Carolina Technical College, studied hard, and stayed focused. Courtney Shiver, Retention Advocate, served as her academic advisor and provided the support and resources to develop a career pathway to make Moss’s dream become a reality.

Moss is awaiting two offers from a prestigious hospital, Bailey said.

“I plan to work in the acute care setting with my RN (Registered Nurse) licensure and plan to further my education at Claflin University to obtain my bachelor’s degree in nursing,” Moss said.

To learn more about or to apply for Project HOPE, visit


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