National bridge design award leads to a New Haven promise

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NEW HAVEN --  Last November, the Connecticut Department of Transportation received a national award for its design of the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven.

And, included in the recognition was a $10,000 cash prize. The DOT commissioner knew exactly where that money was going to go.

"We thought of no better place to do this than New Haven Promise," said James Redeker, Commissioner of the state DOT.

His certainty is because New Haven Promise, which awards needy and worthy New Haven high school students college scholarship money, is considered a DOT resource for future prospects.

"We need new engineers," said Redeker. "Many are retiring. It's time for the new generation bringing new thoughts, ideas and energy."

"It speaks volumes to have the Department of Transportation reinvest in the residents here and particularly our young residents," said Patricia Melton
Executive Director of New Haven Promise.

Three products of the New Haven Promise program, presently majoring in engineering in college, see this $10,000 scholarship as wonderful seed money.

"I think this is great and this is going to be a great first step in getting a lot of stem and especially engineering based jobs into New Haven and for New Haven Promise scholars," said Kevin Rivas, a New Haven Promise scholarship recipient, who is now majoring in engineering at the University of New Haven.

"If they're either strong in math or science, I can just really tell you that engineering is probably the way to go," said Jevaughn Brodie, another Promise product, who now attends Gateway Community College in New Haven and is interested in a future in engineering.

The six-year-old Promise program, funded by private and corporate donations, will award nearly $2.5 million in scholarships this year.

"The fact that it's a way of giving back to a community that we have been part of and really linking that in and making it a legacy project for the community, it's a perfect ending to a project that has been great," said Redeker.

One of the engineers, who worked on the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, is a graduate of New Haven's Promise program.