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Massachusetts Community Colleges Consortia Awarded $20 million U.S. Department of Labor Grant
Boston (September 29, 2014) – A consortia proposal submitted collectively by the 15 community colleges in Massachusetts led by Massasoit Community College has been selected by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for the fourth and final round of federal funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant (TAACCCT). The community colleges are advancing a comprehensive approach to addressing the training and educational needs of workers and employers statewide with a focus on articulated pathways to careers in high-growth STEM sectors (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; as well as advanced manufacturing and healthcare). The $20 million grant is the highest funded of the 66 awarded in the country by U.S. DOL. The project, entitled Guided Pathways to Success in STEM (GPSTEM), will use the national Complete College America Guided Pathways to Success model to assist eligible students in obtaining degrees and certificates in STEM fields. The model focuses on reducing the time to completion of certificates and degree programs, resulting in more students entering employment in the Commonwealth and/or transferring into baccalaureate programs to add to their credentials.
During the three-year grant period, 24 STEM degree options and 58 certificate programs will be newly created or significantly enhanced in partnership with business/industry, the Commonwealth’s workforce system, the state universities, and UMass. The project will also build capacity on the highly successful Career & College Navigator model the Massachusetts Community Colleges designed and implemented during the Round I TAACCCT Grant Award in 2011. An important part of the Round IV initiative will focus on creating collaborative pipelines for students to seamlessly transfer to baccalaureate programs to meet industry demand in certain STEM industry areas. “Creating key pipeline collaborations in the STEM fields in conjunction with the state universities and UMass will serve as a new model for creating comprehensive higher education and industry partnerships in the Commonwealth,” said Bill Hart, executive officer of the Massachusetts Community Colleges Council of Presidents.
The focus is primarily on helping TAA-eligible un- and under-employed workers and veterans enter STEM programs and obtain high-skill, high-waged jobs. However, the funding to implement Complete College America’s GPS model will assist community colleges in infusing additional comprehensive student supports throughout the 15 campuses that will benefit all student populations. “This award will have an enormous impact for all community college students in the Commonwealth, and it will advance the collective mission of our 15 institutions to connect individuals with long-term employment and extended educational opportunities,” said Dr. Charles Wall, president of Massasoit Community College. Massasoit Community College will serve as the lead institution for the consortium grant.
Additionally, $5 million of the $20 million will be for an additional statewide collaborative to work with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the state’s workforce system (state career centers and Workforce Investment Boards) to create a pilot around technology-enabled solutions to integrate systems at the community colleges and the state’s career centers to aggregate data and inform decisions on serving Trade-Impacted workers, unemployed and underemployed clients, and students. This additional statewide collaborative will be referred to as the Data Bus and is a project on top of the main proposal of the development of Guided Pathways in STEM. Cape Cod Community College also received a solitary grant of $2,471,478 to focus on training students in aviation maintenance and avionics, bringing the total funding for Massachusetts to more than $22,400,000.
MassBay awards associate degrees and certificates in over 70 academic programs in a wide range of career-driven subjects ranging from accounting and automotive technology to forensic DNA science and early childhood education. The College’s facilities in Wellesley Hills, Framingham and Ashland house day, evening and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career minded life-long learners. Online options provide convenience and allow faculty to facilitate the learning process. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and strives to meet the needs of the diverse local communities it serves. Registration is now underway for summer session II, which begins on July 7th, and for fall semester, which gets underway on September 2nd.