Three Connecticut community colleges will work to increase the number of low-income students entering and succeeding in college using a seven-year, $25.8 million U.S. Department of Education grant awarded to the state. Manchester, Naugatuck Valley and Middlesex community colleges will partner with their local school districts to make students aware of college, beginning in the seventh grade. The grant funds college scholarships and activities such as tutoring, mentoring, academic preparation and financial education.
“Our community colleges play a critical role in equipping our young people with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st-century economy,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a release. “They are the engines driving the quality of Connecticut’s workforce, and we must ensure that all of our young people are able to not only access these opportunities for their careers but also are set up for success once enrolled.”
Middlesex Community College also received a $10,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. The funds will help to provide scholarships to students preparing to enter the manufacturing workforce.
“We are working with technical high schools and colleges throughout the country that are seeking ways to train or upskill workers to fill employee demands,” said Haas Director of Education Toni Neary.
“CCB Community Bank has provided NWFSC the opportunity to direct this gift to the institution’s most critical needs,” said NWFSC President Devin Stephenson. “Their generous support bolsters our vision to prepare and equip our students for future success.”
The college also received a $10,000 Gene Haas Foundation grant to support scholarships for computer numerical control (CNC) technology or machinist training. Additionally, funds will support CNC/manufacturing programs such as SkillsUSA teams.
With the funding, Ivy Tech’s Office of Career Development will work to incorporate career readiness practices into the academic experience. The office also will help students secure work-and-learn opportunities and employment using a three-pronged approach that includes ensuring students engage with the Office of Career Development, begin a “career action plan” — which includes a resume, interview preparation, employability skills and more — and use labor market data related to their chosen field of study and report positive career outcomes through a survey.
Ivy Tech also received a $1.5 million U.S. Department of Labor grant for a program aimed at helping veterans. The college will collaborate with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Conexus Indiana, Techpoint and other organizations on the Veterans Accelerated Learning for Licensed Occupations (VALLO) project. The goal is to help veterans quickly transition into licensed work.
Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) will use a five-year, $3 million federal Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program grant to build systemic institutional capacity to implement the guided pathways model. The objectives of the grant-funded Minority Academic Pathways to Success (MAPS) project include the establishment of meta-majors, restructured developmental math education, enhanced support and advising systems, and faculty and staff professional development.
Lane Community College can help more students stay in college and graduate thanks to a five-year, $2.22 million federal Education Department grant. It will fund Lane’s CAREERS (Comprehensive Advising, Readiness for Employment, and Education Retention Strategies) project to implement guided pathways. The plan is to expand the college’s first-year experience peer mentoring services to all credit students, link career services more closely to work-based learning experiences, address the varied needs of a community college student with a holistic approach, provide onboarding, implement an early alert system for students in academic jeopardy and improve institutional data resources.
Lane’s goal is to increase the year 1 to year 2 retention rate from 55 percent to 63 percent and the graduation/completion rate from 12.3 percent to 21 percent.