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Promise Team Spotlight - Bob Jorth

Bob Jorth

This week, we are starting a new tradition here at KzooConnect. Monthly Team Spotlights will highlight an employee of the Kalamazoo Promise (Promise) and the work they do for our community. Starting this new series off is Bob Jorth, Executive Director of the Promise.

A mainstay with the Promise since its inception, Jorth has had the privilege of seeing nearly 6,000 Kalamazoo Public School graduates use the Promise to prepare for the next stage of their lives. Jorth initially worked as the Promise’s Executive Administrator, helping establish all the procedures and infrastructure for the program. In July 2013, his role shifted to his current position of Executive Director.

“My position started with the responsibility to implement the Kalamazoo Promise, assuring that students could seamlessly access their scholarship so that they could concentrate on completing their post-secondary education,” Jorth recalled. “It has now evolved to be primarily a team leader, acting to assure that the Promise Team can use their talents and abilities to assure more students successfully access and complete their programs of studies and stay in or return to Kalamazoo.”

In all his time with the Promise, Jorth is always sure of the organization’s mission.

“Our work is primarily one of assisting the community in their many efforts to support Promise scholars through the entire continuum of access and success, from cradle to career,” said Jorth.

For Jorth and the Promise’s staff, this “cradle to career” model is not hyperbolic. Many of the Promise scholars have had to overcome difficult obstacles in order to complete their education. It is the goal of the Promise’s staff to help these students understand the flexibility of the Promise as they move along their path to their goals.

“The Promise offers every student the opportunity to pursue their passions along their unique path, whether it be a certificate in wind energy, an associate degree in the health field, or a bachelor’s degree in engineering. We now have nearly 200 scholars that we have identified who have gone on after completing their Promise to earn graduate degrees, including more than 50 with Ph.D. level credentials,” explained Jorth.

When not at work, Jorth enjoys going on bike rides and writing poetry. One of his favorite spots to eat around Kalamazoo is Rustica.

In terms of preferred entertainment in Kalamazoo, Jorth said, “I under access the entertainment in Kalamazoo; however, I would say my favorite entertainment is the high school arts and athletic events.”

A lot has changed for both Jorth and the Promise since 2005, but Jorth is happy and thankful for his position within the organization. When asked what he felt the most important takeaways from his position are, Jorth replied, “I have the best job in Kalamazoo. I have the privilege of leading an extraordinary team which now includes six Promise scholar alumni. The Promise is an investment in the most valuable resource in our community, our youth!”

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