HOUGHTON, MI – Education can open up opportunities for communities and the people in them. There are forty seven such opportunities in the Copper Country, thanks to the Portage Health Foundation. Scholarships are available to high school students as well as people who are already working on a degree. Kevin Store, PHF’s Executive Director, said the pursuit of traditional and technical education has a positive impact on the community.

“When you increase the education level of a community across all spectrum’s, you reduce the health risk factors, and other risk factors that that community faces. Whether that is high education through skilled trades training or through formal education with a bachelor’s or master’s level. All of those contribute to the education level, they contribute to higher earning levels. And they ultimately contribute to reduced health risks factors that we can see. And the studies prove that.” – Kevin Store, Portage Health Foundation Executive Director

Two local leaders reached out to the foundation to help with the scholarship program. The Joseph B. Kirkish scholarship and the McIntyre Family scholarship focus on technical education that could lead to careers in skilled trades.

“Well Dr. Joseph Kirkish, or “Joey” as he likes to be called, has been a key member of our community for decades and he’s contributed in many ways to our local community. And a number of years ago he approached the Portage Health Foundation, to help him out with his charitable giving, and gifts he’s putting back into our community. Kip McIntyre from Greenland, had approached a couple years ago. You know, he wanted to give back. He talks very openly about his family’s involvement in that small community. Growing up in the Mass-Greenland area, they’ve had a very successful multi-generational business there. And he just wanted to give back to that community. And so we’ve worked with them to create a named family scholarship, the McIntyre Family Scholarship fund for students within that community, that can apply for funding support for them to go on to pursue additional training in the skilled trades areas.” – Kevin Store

The Portage Health Foundation has awarded several hundred scholarships over the last several years. The deadline to submit this year’s scholarship applications is March 4th. If you or a student you know wants to apply, go to phfgive.org. Students can also talk with a school councilor to learn more about the application process and requirements for each scholarship.