DETROIT (WWJ) – Comcast gave nine $1,000 scholarships to Detroit High School graduates on Tuesday.

Comcast Senior Manager for Government Affairs Gerald W. Smith said students were selected based on their community involvement and academic achievement.

“What they have to do is demonstrate the fact that they are willing to volunteer for a community project, that they demonstrate some level of a community perspective in terms of neighborhood building, that they show some kind of camaraderie with their families and with their fellow students, and then we can talk about academic achievements,” said Smith.

Smith said that only Detroit Public School students were chosen.  Principals identified students who they believed were worthy of a scholarship.

“Many of these students aren’t the 4.0 or 3.5 [grade-point-average] students; they’re 2.2, 2.3, 2.5,” said Smith.  “We are willing to look at students who have demonstrated the ability to think beyond themselves.”

Smith said state legislators, at a ceremony at the Lansing Capitol Steps last Tuesday, were able to give these students from their respective districts proclamations and letters of encouragement to demonstrate they are committed to students and higher education for them.

According to Smith, Comcast gave out 104 scholarships to students statewide.

In addition to awarding scholarships, Smith said Comcast will also be launching a new work program called the “Internet Essentials Program.” He said the FCC approved program will help both students and their parents who demonstrate the fact that they need some level of encouragement in digital literacy.

“What this does is connect the students with not only the digital literacy side but also connects your homework with the school environment,” said Smith.

“We’ve rolled this program out for a 3-year period, but the program will go on for as long as the students are still eligible and enrolled in the school lunch program, they will be eligible for this service.”

Smith said Comcast has made arrangements with a wide variety of stores so families can purchase computers under $150, along with internet service monthly for less than $10 through their entire life of their career at school.

“When we bought NBC-Universal earlier this year, one of the public interest commitments was for us was to demonstrate a broadband adoption commitment,” said Smith.  “This program really identifies with students who earn the free lunch program, whose parents are probably low-income.”

The program will launch this fall. Smith said Comcast will be working very closely with the Detroit Public Schools and community-based organizations to provide training sites by the end of the year for families.


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