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Source:  Grossmont College

March 23, 2021 (El Cajon) - Grossmont College students who are awarded a scholarship from an East County tribe get much more than the $500 to help them pay for books and supplies. They also get a connection with the tribe’s casino that can help them land a job.

Since 2018, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation has provided scholarships for 12 Grossmont College students who are majoring in Culinary Arts, the Administration of Justice, or Hospitality and Tourism Management. Those fields directly tie into the kinds of jobs held at the Sycuan Casino, with more than 1,700 employees, including chefs, security guards, or hotel and casino managers.

The tribe has told the scholarship recipients that they have an open-ended job offer when they complete their education. They have also supported Grossmont College through a donation of about $16,000 worth of high-quality cookware for students in the Culinary Arts program, along with a $2,000 donation to the college’s Food Pantry.

“We are very honored to partner with the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges and their incredible scholarship program,” said Cody J. Martinez, Chairman, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. “The scholarships provided by the foundation are imperative because they directly benefit students that need much-needed access to funding to further their education. It is important for us to continue to support and invest in the bright future of these students through the scholarship program, mentorships and even potential employment opportunities at Sycuan in their areas of study.”

Before the pandemic, the foundation used to hold annual breakfasts to give an opportunity for donors and students who received scholarships to meet in person. Instead, the foundation now sets up one-on-one Zoom connections with the donor and student. For students who have received one of the Sycuan scholarships, the meetings are set up with a casino executive working in their field for the opportunity to get mentoring from someone in their profession.

“It’s meaningful,” said Dana Rivers, director of development for the foundation. “Knowing what we know now, we plan to continue to do it this way post-pandemic.”

College and foundation officials recently celebrated receiving $6,000 from Sycuan to fund the scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“It’s an amazing partnership for our students and the East County community,” said Marsha Gable, interim president of Grossmont College.

For information about the college district, go to

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