Scholarships Will Create Jobs in Mesa County

$150,000 Goes To Western Colorado Community College

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- - The Colorado Mesa University Foundation has been named the 2017 Quarterly Forum Scholarship Recipient by the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative. The $150,000 award will go towards funding student scholarships at Western Colorado Community College.

This scholarship money will be used to offset tuition for students at the college. The program is specifically targeting those between the ages of 18-25, for which the unemployment rate is 13.8% in Mesa County. "I hope we're an economic engine for the community. And I think training people for jobs directly, I mean that's what Western Colorado Community College does. We're a career technical education and so you can come here in a semester or two and be trained for a specific job and get that job and a meaningful employment right afterwards," says Dennis Bailey-Fougnier, the Vice President of Community College Affairs at Western Colorado Community College.

The college is partnering with the Mesa County Workforce Center to deliver these scholarships. The Colorado Mesa University Foundation had to compete against four other colleges for this money, and they believe their collaboration with the Workforce Center is what made them stand out. "It's what Grand Junction does - we work together to get things done, which is really different than the Eastern Slope. And so the cooperative [effort] of us working together, they think it's unique, we think it's just what we do because it's what we have to do to help people get jobs," says Bailey-Fougnier.

The college will be using clients of the Workforce Center for the scholarships. Some will be given out in the summer semester, but most will be granted in the fall.

The Quarterly Forum will present the Western Colorado Community College with the award on April 6 at the University of Denver.

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