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Michael Montoya delivers a speech at the State CapitalAs a member of the Class of 2024, Central junior Michael Montoya will be among those who benefit from a $1,500 “portable scholarship” that will help him realize his post-high school career dreams.
On Tuesday, Michael, an active athlete and musician, was selected to offer remarks at Governor Jared Polis’ “Boosting Colorado’s Workforce and Economy” press conference at the State Capitol.
The foundation of this campaign is a legislative package designed to connect hardworking Coloradans with the skills and training they need to thrive, saving people money on advanced training and education, and filling Colorado’s in-demand jobs.
And support in the form of a $1,500 “flexible scholarship” will be awarded to every member of the Colorado Class of 2024 to help with postsecondary education and training and zero-cost credential programs for in-demand jobs.
The zero-cost credentials initiative builds upon the success of Care Forward Colorado, which has already trained more than 1,000 students since launching in the Fall of 2022. The new legislation provides aspiring professionals in high-demand fields with free training toward associate degrees and industry certificates at public community colleges, local district colleges, or area technical colleges.
Eligible industries include elementary and early childhood education, firefighting, law enforcement, forest management, short-term nursing, and construction trades.
The scholarship initiative has the capacity to serve 15,000 Class of 2024 members, through apprenticeships and on-the-job training and/or trade schools, and community and four-year colleges.
At Central, Michael is a two-way standout on the football team, a member of the marching band, and is active in Pueblo Community College’s concurrent welding program.
“As a junior in high school, I’m working really hard to create as many opportunities for myself as possible, before I graduate,” Michael told those assembled at the Capitol. “I’m a proud member of the football team and I’m also really active in music – I play drums, violin, piano, guitar and percussion instruments – and I’m a member of the marching band at school.”
Michael’s love of music is further expressed through his participation in the Perfect World Music Academy, coordinated by Centennial graduate Carl Lucero at his Pueblo-based music studio.
“This is a great opportunity to learn about one of my passions,” Michael said. “In the Academy, we learn about such things as music recording and editing.”
The versatile Wildcat is similarly passionate about welding.
“After I graduate, I want to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps: he was a welder and supervisor at the ‘steel mill,’” Michael said. “Working on cars and big machinery is something that interests me.”
Michael then expressed his appreciation for the $1,500 scholarship made available by the governor and lawmakers.
“Between all my interests, I’m so excited for all the opportunities, and this $1,500 scholarship will go a long way for me,” he said. “Whether to pay for my books, room and board, or tuition, this money will help me get the education I need to pursue my dreams.
“College and higher education aren’t cheap, and every dollar counts. I don’t know exactly what my future holds, but I know that Governor Polis and our legislative leaders are working hard to support students like me.”
Michael concluded his presentation by acknowledging his Blue roots.
“I want to thank Pueblo Central High School, Principal Mehess and all my teachers – as well as my Mom and Dad – for their continued support. I’m excited about the opportunities ahead and am excited that the Class of 2024 will have this incredible support.”
On hand to support Michael at the Capitol were Principal Mehess and his family members.
“I’m so proud of Michael,” Principal Mehess said. “He represented all of us very well.”