The Quarterly Forum Scholarship was awarded to The Colorado Mesa University Foundation on Thursday at the University of Denver. This scholarship consists of $150,000 dollars, and will be going towards the Western Colorado Community College.
Dennis Bailey-Fougnier, the vice president of community college affairs, explained how this money will be put to use.
“We have a new program called Career Pathways. What we’ve done is take some of our associate degrees and chunk them,” Bailey-Fougnier said. “A student can either, in one or two semesters, get a certificate that will lead specifically to a specific job.”
This program shrinks the amount of time it takes to earn these associate degrees, helping lower the cost of tuition.
“Whether it’s welding or manufacturing or culinary, we built these stackable certificates that lead to an associate degree, that could lead to a bachelor’s degree,” Bailey Fougnier said.
The goal is to help unemployed people, targeting the ages of 18-25, who are not attending college. This is to decrease the 13.8 percentage of people unemployed, or underemployed, in this age range.
“We’re working with the workforce center to target that population, to try to get them back into college to get a certificate, so that we can get them meaningful employment,” Bailey-Fougnier said.
This scholarship was awarded in a “shark-tank-like” situation, where five possible recipients competed in presenting what they would choose to do with the awarded money and the WCCC presented this employment program to the Quarterly Forum.