BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Birmingham Promise program got a big boost Tuesday. Three companies are combining to contribute $3 million to help Birmingham high school graduates get to college.
The Birmingham Promise started out helping to expose students to various jobs, and now it wants to help those students get to college and hopefully return to the Magic City to work. Tuesday’s donation helps move the program to cover the cost of this year’s graduates.
Zahria Brewer is a senior at Huffman High School. She is looking forward to going to the University of Alabama at Huntsville to major in pediatric psychiatry. She said she has benefited from the Birmingham Promise program. “Getting real world connections. Getting real life skill. Being able to network. Getting my name out there who could help in the future,” Brewer said.
The donations Tuesday from Alabama Power Company Foundation, Altec Styslinger Foundation and Regions Bank will help cover the cost of providing tuition to city school graduates this year. “It’s a big deal. It’s going a long way toward the graduates of the 2020 class,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said.
For the companies, they consider it an investment in the city’s future. “We want to invest in the city of Birmingham and we want the city to be successful. We want the workforce to have whatever they need in order for them to be successful,” Tony Smoke of Alabama Power Company said.
Brewer said she hopes those who may have given up hope on a college education can see they have a roadway if they choose to take it. “People who are our friends, dropped out because they felt like they couldn’t do it because of money. This shows if I can do it, I know I can,” Brewer said.
The deadline for applying is March 1. The program hopes to eventually raise $35 million to support the program in the future, but Mayor Woodfin said this year’s class is covered.
You can learn more about the program by clicking here.