Finding the ‘forgotten minority’: Cortopassi grants kick-start students’ dreams

   They come from different schools, represent different cultures and shepherd different dreams.
   But 43 new college students who gathered at San Joaquin Delta College last week had at least two things in common:
   Each is no stranger to adversity. And each has a benefactor who knows a thing or two about overcoming life’s challenges.
   All 43 of these first-time students will receive $10,000 over the next two years from wealthy San Joaquin County farmer and businessman Dino Cortopassi and his wife, Joan. Twenty-four of the students will attend Delta, where the fall semester begins today, with the others spread among a handful of over Valley colleges.
   The Cortopassis’ 2-year-old JobRedi Foundation aims to help students who aren’t bound for universities but would benefit from training in career technical education fields like law enforcement, computer programming, auto technology and nursing, to name a few.
  “We believe that we are pioneering something that other philanthropists in the area will want to contribute to,” Dino Cortopassi, 78, said Friday. “But we have to make it work. We have to prove that these kids do finish, and that they do get jobs, and that it is good for the community.”