HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A group that helps public school students in Hartford afford college is celebrating a significant milestone. Hartford Promise has now given out its one-thousandth scholarship.

“We’re here to celebrate one thousand Promise scholars,” said Hartford Promise President Richard Sugarman at a press conference at Weaver High School.

Hartford Promise awards college scholarships of up to $20,000.

“Without the Promise scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to financially afford the college that I’m at right now,” said Richardson Mersan, a current Junior at Southern Connecticut State University. “They’ve been providing me with all the resources I need to get to college and get through college and almost finish college to financially to whether I need someone to talk to.”

To qualify for this college scholarship money, students must maintain pretty high standards in high school, including a 93% attendance record and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

“It was just an amazing feeling because I felt a huge weight and burden get off my shoulders,” said Erna Alic, a Hartford Promise recipient who has already graduated from UConn and is now working at the Hartford Public Library.

Educators point to the labor shortage facing all kinds of businesses.

“Guess what? We’ve got the solution right in front of us. Dedicated, smart, driven, highly resilient,” Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez said.

Promise gets lots of corporate help and is holding its first-ever fundraiser this month, inspired by the name.

“Hartford Prom-ise, and in 30 seconds, we landed on we’re going to have a prom,” Sugarman said. “So, Hartford Promise is going to have a prom on April 29 at Dunkin’ Park.”

News 8 is co-sponsoring the Promise Prom to help the next thousand students get those scholarships. Click here to learn more about Hartford Promise.