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$5,500 grants given to 6 Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship alumni

| Thursday, June 22, 2017, 11:45 p.m.
Bob Bauder | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O'Connor discusses grants given to six Pittsburgh Promise alumni on Thursday.

Pittsburgh distributed $5,500 grants Thursday to six Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship alumni through a program established by City Council to retain homegrown talent.

Two local employers also are in line for the grants, according to Councilman Corey O'Connor of Swisshelm Park, who sponsored legislation last year that set aside $60,000 for the program. He said two other grants have yet to be awarded.

“I'm going to use it to help pay off my student loans,” said Japera Bey, 23, of the North Side who landed a job with Allegheny Health Network's Healthcare at Home program.

AHN and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council were awarded grants. Other former students included Charmaine Clark, 25, of the Hill District; Jaquayla Huger, 24, of Crafton; Allison Meade, 23, of Carrick; and Shaqui Scott, 24, of Brentwood. The last grant recipient, Jasmine Durham, did not attend a news conference in the City-County Building, Downtown.

“I'm investing in my online clothing boutique, quayscloset,” Huger said.

To qualify, students had to graduate from an accredited institution through a promise scholarship and work full time in Pittsburgh. The employers had to hire a promise scholarship recipient full time and employ them for at least six months.

The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, African American Chamber of Commerce and Pittsburgh Promise participated in the program.

“The idea behind this program was to incentivize our talent to stay in the city of Pittsburgh,” O'Connor said. “We are really proud to be here today to award out the money.”

Saleem Ghubril, who heads the Pittsburgh Promise, said the organization has provided scholarships to 7,300 students over the past eight years, and 2,600 of them have graduated so far. He said the organization has no precise way of tracking a student once they graduate, but at least 1,500 of the graduates are currently working in the city.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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