Investing in Education: West Valley City, Utah's Hometown Scholarship Empower the Next Generation

Investing in Education: West Valley City, Utah's Hometown Scholarship Empower the Next Generation Main Photo

22 Aug 2023


Guided by a commitment to education and sustainable growth, West Valley City, Utah's Economic Optimization & RDA continues to spearhead the Hometown Scholars Initiative. Partnering with the University of Utah, the initiative provides access to Opportunity Scholars program's comprehensive suite of retention resources designed to empower first-generation students on their academic journey. The initiative caters to students residing within the West Valley City limits or those who have completed their studies at a school within the city’s vicinity.

The University of Utah Opportunity Scholars provides personalized tutoring and invaluable mentors to enriching internships and career services, students have the tools they need to excel. Additionally, the program offers counseling, financial assistance, and an open line of communication with the program director, ensuring students receive unwavering support.

"Our partnership with the Opportunity Scholars is truly remarkable. We are witnessing a generation of students who are not only thriving academically but are also deeply ingrained in the fabric of our community. Through this initiative, we are nurturing the leaders of tomorrow while fostering economic growth today," affirmed Mark Nord, Economic Optimization & RDA Director.

Paving the Path to a Sustainable Future 

As part of its commitment to sustainability, West Valley City's Economic Optimization & RDA has embraced the mission of enriching secondary education opportunities for local students. Recognizing the pivotal role of education in economic development, the City Council and the Board have championed this initiative. 

Annually, the Economic Optimization department of West Valley City allocates a total of $180,000, which covers housing at ICO Fairbourne Station as well as scholarships.

The RDA's efforts reflect a forward-thinking approach that recognizes the potential of an educated workforce to drive economic prosperity. West Valley City is acutely aware of the need to nurture its existing workforce and elevate the educational attainment of its residents. This symbiotic relationship between education and economic development is the cornerstone of the city's progress.

A Catalyst for Community Engagement 

The Hometown Scholars Program, now in its sixth year, has proven to be a catalyst for change, with numerous success stories illuminating the path ahead. Opportunity Scholars are instilled with a profound sense of responsibility towards their community. Volunteering, engagement in program activities, and a steadfast commitment to academic excellence at the David Eccles School of Business are all essential components of the program. 

A Promise of Affordable Housing and Educational Excellence

The Hometown Scholars Contribution to the Opportunity Scholars program has already made a substantial impact, assisting on average 27 students each year since its inception. With 19 student graduates and an additional 17 set to graduate this year, the program is a beacon of hope for students seeking higher education. 

RDA leverages state-mandated housing set-aside funds to offer affordable housing and support to 16 West Valley City students attending the University of Utah. The students will reside at ICO Fairbourne Station, conveniently accessing classes via the Trax line. 

The Opportunity Scholars program boasts an impressive 93% graduation rate for its participants, many of whom are first-generation college students. By providing a robust framework of resources—from tutors and mentors to service-learning projects and counseling—the program fosters a generation of leaders equipped with the skills and determination to succeed.

Shape Tomorrow, Today 

West Valley City's commitment to education, economic growth, and community well-being is an invitation to all. Businesses and organizations eager to contribute to this visionary endeavor are encouraged to connect with Nate Webster at or 801-963-3346. By joining this transformative initiative, you can help shape a future where education and economic progress are intertwined, creating a legacy of prosperity for generations to come.