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Newaygo Promise Zone seen as educational, economic opportunity

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Local leaders say the state’s approval of a new Promise Zone for Newaygo County provides educational and economic opportunity. 

Lori Tubbergan Clark is the superintendent of the six-district Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency, or RESA.

"The 10 Promise Zones are all located in high-poverty areas; which Newaygo County is one," she says.

Newaygo County officials announced its Promise Zone approval by the state this week. 

"And what that allows us to do is to use a combination of federal, state and private dollars to send our Newaygo County students on a tuition-free path to at least an associate’s degree," Tubbergan Clark says.

Newaygo is one of two county-wide Promise programs.  The other is Muskegon County. 

Tubbergan Clark says the next steps include appointing a Promise Zone Authority board and creating a development plan for scholarship requirements and fundraising objectives. She says Muskegon Community College and Baker College Fremont will be among educational partners. 

Tubbergan Clark says the Promise provides hope, opportunity and access.

"It’s also really an economic development tool," she says, "that I think is really going to be beneficial to the workforce, and the entire region."

Tubbergan Clark says she’s anticipating the zone will be operational within two years.

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