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Utah Education Network (UEN) Recognizes Local Mentors through National American Graduate Initiative

“Stories of Champions” project celebrates the value of mentorship in workforce education.

The Utah Education Network (UEN) is spotlighting technical education with the UtahFutures Celebrates Stories of Champions Project. Held in conjunction with the national American Graduate Day program and in partnership with KUED, KBYU, KUER and Utah’s Hogle Zoo, the project includes the recognition of fourteen new American Graduate Champions who guide others to reach academic and professional milestones.

These Champions will be the guests of honor at The UtahFutures Celebrates Stories of Champions Dinner on Thursday, October 12. More than 80 participants from K–12 education, the Utah System of Technical Colleges, the Utah System of Higher Education, public media, industry and the community will gather at Utah’s Hogle Zoo to salute the Champions and explore ideas for raising awareness of the value of technical education.

Through the project, UEN produced video profiles of two Champions whose work relies on UEN’s services: Kathryn Blunt of Canyons School District helps students and teachers gain valuable skills through the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program, and Matt Fuller of Bridgerland Technical College helps high school students earn credentials through the innovative AM STEM Academy. The videos are airing on UEN-TV, KUED and KBYU.

The project is funded by a generous grant from WNET and is a part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a national public media initiative to raise awareness around education issues. The dinner coincides with similar events across the nation leading up to American Graduate Day, an annual television event which has reached more than 83% of all U.S. households on more than 100 public television stations. This year’s broadcast, hosted by Soledad O’Brien and featuring guests such as General and Mrs. Colin Powell, will focus on efforts to address the “middle skills gap”—the difference between the increasing number of jobs that require specialized training and the number of workers qualified to fill them.

American Graduate Day airs Saturday, October 14 from noon to 4 p.m. Viewers are encouraged to join the live conversation via Twitter using #AmGrad.

About American Graduate

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen is public media’s long-term commitment to supporting community-based solutions to help young people succeed in school and life. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), more than 100 public television and radio stations have joined forces with over 1,700 partners across 49 states to elevate the stories of youth and the supportive adults that help them succeed. Through American Graduate, public media, with its unique position as a trusted resource and important partner in local communities, provides a critical platform to shine a light on pathways to graduation and successful student outcomes. National and local reporting, both on air and online is helping communities understand the challenges and community-driven solutions associated with the dropout crisis. Public forums, town halls and community conversations are activating discussions between community leaders, educators and more.  

Contact: Rich Finlinson, (801) 864-1074

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