January 29, 2021
Cedar City, Utah: The representatives of Iron County recently approved their 2021 budget pledging funds to support high school students with costs towards college fees, textbooks, and certification exams at Southwest Technical College. As part of the Intergeneration Poverty Initiative, these funds will eliminate all registration fees for high school students and provide scholarship opportunities to cover the costs of college textbooks and exams for students with additional financial needs. “This is a huge step in eliminating barriers for all high school students to have the opportunity to gain additional access to technical education,” stated Southwest Tech President, Brennan Wood. “The exposure these students get while in high school can propel them with a future in a promising career.”
As with all technical colleges throughout the state of Utah, high school students can attend courses at Southwest Tech tuition-free. However, many courses require additional costs, including college textbooks and certification exams. These additional costs can be burdensome for some families of high school students and deter them from enrolling in these courses. These pledged funds from Iron County will help all high school students have equal financial opportunity to attend the technical courses they wish to attend.
Commissioner Paul Cozzens speaking on behalf of Commissioners Marilyn Wood, Mike Bleak, and former commissioner Alma Adams stated, “The Intergenerational Poverty grant that Iron County has awarded is not a handout, but a hand up for those in need. What an amazing potential return on investment to see individuals receive training and be able to be self-sufficient and provide for themselves and loved ones. We are happy to be a part of helping these individuals improve their station in life and gain the ability to pay it forward.”
Commissioner Bleak added, “This is a long term commitment to the students of Iron County schools that we believe in you. This program will make a big difference, over time, in reducing our poverty rate in Iron County.”
Neal Smith, Development Director at Southwest Technical College and a member of the Intergenerational Poverty Committee would like to see other municipalities join the county in funding this project. “Imagine, a student will discover unlimited future possibilities, thanks to the dual enrollment program with Southern Utah University, a degree or a certificate in their future, and a career of their choosing.”