UPDATE: Council Approves REU Scholarship Program


Update 12/21/16 — The Redding City Council approved the Powering Redding’s Future College Scholarship and Technical School Grant Program in a 5-0 vote on Dec. 20. Applications and information are available at http://www.reupower.com/scholarships.

Redding Electric Utility (REU) will seek City Council approval Tuesday night for a new scholarship program designed to benefit local students and attract potential future employees.

The Powering Redding’s Future College Scholarship and Technical School Grant Program ties directly to REU’s 2020 Strategic Plan, which addresses the utility’s “imminent need to ‘attract, develop, and retain a qualified workforce’,” according to a report submitted to the council by REU Director Barry Tippin.

“By offering local students opportunities to earn robust scholarships and grants from REU, and potentially an internship with the utility, we believe we can grow local, young talent to fill some critical positions in the future,” Tippin said in an email.

REU’s strategic plan, which was approved by the City Council in January 2015, calls for an increase in the utility’s support of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. During the past year, REU has increased its involvement in local STEM-related events, including participation in multiple junior high and high school career days, according to the council report.

Offering scholarships and grants to 18 local students each year would be another step in REU’s community outreach and sustainability efforts. If granted council approval, the utility would partner with Shasta Community Regional Foundation to manage and administer the Powering Redding’s Future program.

Foundation staff would collect and review grant and scholarship applications and make awards on the recommendation of an independent evaluation committee. The program would offer the following each year:

• Four scholarships of $5,000 to attend a four-year college or university to study STEM-related courses.

• Four scholarships of up to $3,500 to attend a four-year college or university to study non-STEM related courses.

• Four grants of $1,000 to attend a community college.

• Six grants of $2,000 to attend a technical school.

Two of the scholarships and one of the technical-school grants would be dedicated to students whose families are considered low-income, the report says.

In 2015, 910 students graduated from the Shasta Union High School District, according to district statistics cited in the report. Of those, only 44 percent have enrolled in college.

“One of the reasons our students struggle to enroll in higher education out of high school is finances,” Jim Cloney, superintendent of the Shasta Union High School District, said via email. “These scholarship and grant opportunities will directly help more local kids fulfill their potential and also help created the educated workforce that will lead Redding into the future.”

According to the report to the council, the program would cost $51,500 in the current fiscal year, with $10,500 funded from REU’s low-income Public Benefits Program budget and $41,000 funded through REU’s marketing budget. The program would redirect existing budgeted funds and not impact the General Fund, the report states.

If the program is approved, REU would join other electric utilities nationwide, including the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Silicon Valley Power (Santa Clara), that offer college scholarships and grants as part of a strategy to attract local students to the industry. Some utilities offer paid summer internships to awardees, something REU will also consider.

“Our desire is to fill future vacancies with talented and educated youth from Redding,” Pat Keener, REU communications manager, said in an email.

Encouraging local young people to graduate from college or technical school and enter Redding’s workforce would be a win, Tippin said. “Our team considers this program an excellent, long-term investment in Redding’s future leaders,” he said.

Should the City Council approve the program, Powering Redding’s Future College Scholarship and Technical School Grant Program applications would be available online on Dec. 21. The first scholarship and grant deadline would be March 8. Check reupower.com/scholarships for information.

City of Redding employees and their immediate families would be ineligible for the program. Awardees must enroll in a college, university, or technical school in the fall of the year in which the scholarship was awarded.

Candace L. Brown
Candace L. Brown has been a newspaper and magazine reporter and editor since 1992, including eight years at the Redding Record Searchlight. She lives in Redding and can be reached at candace.freelance@gmail.com.
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9 Responses

  1. Randall R Smith says:

    When people get a look at the coming STEM HQ, this idea will have meaning and a real home.  These kinds of programs show the new and vital Redding rising above the butchered landscape of the past and positioning itself to be a shining leader in the future.  How can the Council say “no”?

  2. Rod says:

    Council say no?  How many more times?

    In as much as Shasta County has forced an agricultural culture to grow legally indoors under electricity sold by City of Redding and PG&E, shouldn’t these scholarships provide research and development into alternative methods?  Isn’t it true that sun-grown agricultural products are considerably healthier and energy conservative?  Who benefits from unlawful restrictions requiring indoor agriculture?   The City Council.

    Other places in America are funding scholarships from taxes on business.  Not here though.  They don’t want no educations paid for by pot.  They need to pretend today is not today.


    • K. Beck says:

      While this is a noble cause:

      I vote for them using that money to construct solar array farms, OR at the very least, putting solar panels on the roofs of all city and county buildings, OR making it mandatory for everyone putting in a new asphalt parking lot devoting space for solar to mitigate the electrical use in the buildings associated with the parking lot (are you listening RABA?), maybe then they wouldn’t have to keep raising their rates? This is really amazing after saying REU NEEDS more money!

      • Beverly Stafford says:

        A neighbor just had an array installed and is delighting in seeing his PG&E meter rotate counter clockwise.  I’m not very smart, but it would seem to me that installing arrays on the current mall parking lot would not only provide electricity for the mall but would also provide shade for shoppers’ cars.  Can you imagine getting into a relatively cool car in July?

      • David J. says:

        Hi K. Beck – Thank you for your post.  I work for REU and would like to share that REU (our community’s electricity provider) is not seeking an electricity rate increase at tomorrow night’s City Council meeting, and at this time, we do not have plans to increase electricity rates in 2017.   All City utilities, including REU, operate separate funds (revenues and expenses).  The possible rate increases resulting from the mail-in ballots the City Council will consider tomorrow night do not include any increases in our community’s electricity rates.  REU is excited about the potential to offer the kids in our community opportunities to earn college scholarships and technical school grants; we believe investing in our kids is an investment in our community’s future.  REU’s proposed scholarship program is pending the Redding City Council’s approval at tomorrow night’s meeting.

  3. cheyenne says:

    The FRYS grocery store on Bell Avenue in Phoenix covered part of their asphalt parking lot and installed solar panels on the cover.  It was funded, at least partly, by an Arizona Public Utility solar fund.  I am not sure how the fund works but the manager at the FRYS told me the solar panels would save FRYS $10,000 a month.  That may seem high but in Phoenix’s 6 months or more of 100 plus weather it might not be.

  4. I have to say,  some of the comments in this thread surprised me. I’d have thought that a proposed scholarship of this caliber to help educate local kids kids would get a standing ovation. The more scholarships, the better, IMHO.


  5. Chris Dell says:

    Thank you REU for making STEM education a priority!  These scholarships will greatly benefit our young people in our community.  I am pleased to see the focus of the scholarships is diverse with consideration to all post secondary options.  The options for students to attend a technical school, a community college and/or a four year university speaks volumes to Reach Higher Shasta’s goal of reaching “Every student, Every option” as well as North State STEM to “foster private and public partnerships to build college and career readiness in the 21st Century.”  I look forward to our continued partnership and work giving all students the opportunity to fall in love with the world of STEM.

  6. Clay says:

    Dear Candace L. Brown,
    2016 Facebook Emerging Scholars Program is available for the first or second year Ph.D. students, who are members of a minority group. The award is designed to specifically support talented students from underrepresented minority groups and encourage them to continue their Ph.D. studies, pursue innovative research, and engage with the broader research community.
    Scholarship Deadline is February 28, 2017
    We thought your students might find this information
    Best Regards,
    Scholarships and Financial Aid Adviser
    For more information of Scholarship, you can also check the given link:

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