The mayor of Birmingham, Alabama recently unveiled a groundbreaking initiative that could change the lives of many young people in the area.
On Tuesday, Mayor Randall Woodfin tweeted that graduates of Birmingham City Schools will have the opportunity to go to college in the state for free.
The initiative, which is called the “Birmingham Promise” will guarantee college tuition for every single one the city’s public high school graduates who are accepted to an in-state, public, two or four-year college.
The plan will also give high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to gain credit hours for completing apprenticeships at local businesses while earning a guaranteed minimum wage of $15 per hour. Students who participate in the apprenticeship program will earn $7.50 per hour from the city and an additional $7.50 per hour from private employers, totaling $15 per hour.
The first-term mayor explained that these scholarships will be a lifeline to college students, especially the 45% in the district who live below the poverty line.
In 2018-19, Birmingham City Schools served 24,053 students, 91 percent of whom are black, according to Public Schools Review. The district has a graduation rate of 77 percent but, according to the Alabama Department of Education, only 49 percent of BCS students who finished school in 2018 were prepared for college or a career.