Academics

MWCC will present an information session on its new Health Information Management associate degree program and career opportunities in this growing field. The free information session, led by Associate Professor Mary Jo Bowie, MS, RHIA, RHIT, will take place Wednesday, May 14 at 5 p.m. at the Gardner campus, room 127.

Health information management is a vital component of the healthcare process. Individuals working in HIM are at the intersection of medicine, business and legal, and play a key role in ensuring that the healthcare organization is compliant with state and federal regulations regarding capture, storage and release of all medical data. In this career, individuals who have an interest in the medical field and information technology skills contribute greatly to the healthcare industry without being direct care providers.

This field is seeing rapid expansion with major federal initiatives, including the conversion of all medical records to electronic medium at a national level, and the conversion of the coding structure used throughout the U.S., as well as a new method of paying for healthcare (pay for performance). These initiatives will require significant new hiring of HIM-credentialed employees to meet workforce needs over the next 10 years.

In addition to serving as an Associate Professor Ms. Bowie is a consultant and owner of Health Information Professional Services in Binghamton, New York.  She is an active member of the American Health Information Management Association and has been a consultant to acute care, long term care, drug and alcohol, ambulatory surgery centers and other facilities for 22 years. She has worked in the health information management profession for 27 years and is the author of several textbooks including Essentials of Health Information Management: Principles and Practices and Understand ICD -10-CM and ICD-10-PCS: A Workbook.

MWCC is currently accepting applications to this academic program, which will begin this fall. For more information call 978-630-9292 or email mjaillet@mwcc.mass.edu.

STEM Starter Academy event April 2014

High school students extract DNA from strawberries during a STEM Starter Academy demonstration.

Approximately 250 students from several North Worcester County high schools sampled college life and STEM careers during Mount Wachusett Community College’s STEM Starter Academy event on April 4. The event, coordinated by the divisions of Academic Affairs and Access, Transition & Development, featured a variety of science and health sciences demonstrations, hands-on experiments, and information about financial aid and college readiness, and served as a prelude to MWCC’s STEM Starter Summer Academy.

Mount Wachusett is currently recruiting 30 students to participate in its STEM Starter Summer Academy, which will run July 7 through Aug. 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gardner campus. Participating students will receive two free college courses, textbooks, a $1,750 stipend, academic support, tutoring, and community service and industry tours.

Funded through a $300,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the summer academy is open to students who graduate from high school in 2014 or earlier; place into English Composition and Intermediate Algebra or higher; and enroll in one of MWCC’s STEM starter qualifying majors in the fall 2014 semester.

Qualifying STEM majors include biology, biotechnology, chemistry, clinical laboratory science, computer information systems, dental hygiene, fitness leadership and exercise science, natural resources, nursing, physical therapist assistant, physics or pre-engineering.

Courses offered during the summer academy include intermediate algebra, statistics, introduction to functions and modeling, life science for allied health, introduction to biotechnology, and introduction to psychology.

For more information about the STEM Starter Summer Academy and other STEM programs at MWCC, contact the admissions office at 978-630-9110 or admissions@mwcc.mass.edu.

Several MWCC faculty and staff shared best practices with colleagues throughout the state during the 2014 Massachusetts Community College Conference on Teaching, Learning & Student Development. The March 28 event, held at Northern Essex Community College, focused on the theme of Social Justice and the Community College.

“I am extremely proud of the Mount Wachusett Community College faculty and staff who presented five unique workshops that were well attended and spoke to the conference theme of social justice,” said Dr. Melissa Fama, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “I enjoy attending a conference where best practices in teaching are shared among the community college educators.”

The MWCC presenters focused on the topics of overall student success; civic engagement and service learning; and support for veterans transitioning to college.

In her presentation, “Active Learning Promotes Success in Science,” Professor Christine Kisiel discussed ways to provide opportunity for all students to succeed in science, regardless of their prior educational experience, background or skills. She shared examples of classroom activities that give students a voice in their learning, which empowers students to succeed.

Advisor and adjunct professor Robert Mayer presented “Soldiering On: Helping Soldiers Become Students and Active Citizens.” Soldiering On is a program for veterans transitioning to college and creates a cohort of students enrolled in a specialized First Year Experience course and English Composition 1. Examination of social, economic and environmental issues are integral parts of the curriculum to teach critical thinking, time management, writing, oral presentation and study skills.

Daniel Soucy, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Chair of Civic Engagement, discussed the new General Studies capstone course, “Global Issues and Veterans.” This unique course teaches social justice through the intellect and intuition, using the classroom and community veteran sites as learning spaces.

Fagan Forhan, Director of Experiential Learning opportunities and Civic Engagement and Director of the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, and Associate Dean of Students Greg Clement presented “Strategies for the Institutionalization of Civic Learning.” The session explored successful ways in which MWCC integrates social justice and civic learning into the student experience. The model begins with a foundation that supports collaboration among faculty, co-curricular programming and community partners.

Shelley Errington Nicholson, Director of Community Learning, and Human Services student Bryan Sanderson, founder of the Students Serving Our Service (SOS) program, described the launch of this successful new peer support program. Sanderson, who viewed his classmates’ struggles as a social justice issue, worked with the Center of Civic Learning and Community Engagement to develop the program. The program is aimed at increasing student retention and services by facilitating access to basic needs such as housing, transportation, child care, which can become obstacles to students’ success.

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Mount Wachusett Community College is recruiting adults of all ages, experience and education for training in the growing field of advanced manufacturing. Full scholarships are available for eligible students who enroll in an upcoming six-week day program or five-week evening program that will be offered at MWCC’s Devens campus.

Students who successfully complete either program will earn an MWCC Certificate of Completion, OSHA 10-hour Safety Certification and the National Career Readiness Certificate.

The six-week Advanced Manufacturing Industrial Readiness Training will meet Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Classes will begin on April 28, and a second session will be offered beginning on June 9. The course includes hands-on, lecture-based material as well as self-paced KeyTrain curriculum leading to the National Career Readiness Certification.

Information sessions for the day program will take place at MWCC’s Devens campus, 27 Jackson Road, on April 10 and April 15 at 10 a.m.

The five-week, 75-hour Medical Device Manufacturing Program will meet Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. The course will be offered April 22 through May 22, and again from May 27 through June 27.

Information sessions for the evening program will take place at the Devens campus from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 7, April 14 and April 16.

The training programs are designed especially for unemployed or underemployed adults, veterans and recent high school graduates who want to train for careers in medical device manufacturing and related industries. Programs provide students with training in skills required for entry-level employment as technicians in manufacturing, validation, quality control, documentation, process operations and more.

Students must possess a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent. Students will have access to staff members who will assist them with the registration process, facilitate access to support services, and help them with their search for employment when they have completed the certificate program successfully. Tutoring and job search support is also available.

Manufacturing accounts for nearly 25 percent of the workforce in North Central Massachusetts, employing more than 14,000 people in the region. The demand for skilled workers continues to grow as a result of new opportunities and the retirement of older workers.

Both programs are funded through the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. The evening program is also funded by a grant to MWCC and Operon Resource Management by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Rapid Response Program.

For more details about the program or to register for an information session, call 978-630-9569.

Robinson Broadhurst scholars 2014

This year’s Robinson Broadhurst Scholars at MWCC include, from left, Dakota Wood, Courtney Paradise, Devan Tenney, Shelby Slemmer and Laura Cosentino.

This academic year, five Murdock High School seniors are simultaneously earning their high school diploma and an academic certificate from Mount Wachusett Community College through the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation Career Tech Scholarship program.

The one-year, full-time dual enrollment program, funded by a generous grant from the foundation, allows Winchendon students to earn academic credentials to enter the workforce or to apply toward an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Through this program, now in its second year, students are provided with scholarship funds to begin a trade or technical program in automotive technology, allied health, information technology support or accounting certificate. The Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation grant provides full scholarships for the students.

The scholarship program provides the students with an opportunity to learn a trade that will allow them to enter the labor force once they finish high school or soon after and earn a higher wage than they would with only a high school diploma. This year, all five participants are seeking a certificate in Allied Health. This year’s Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation Career Tech Scholars are Dakota Wood, Courtney Paradise, Devan Tenney, Shelby Slemmer and Laura Cosentino.

“We are most grateful to the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation for their generous and continued support of this initiative to benefit Murdock High School students,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “This program not only helps students achieve their goal of obtaining a college education without accruing tremendous loan debt, but ultimately supports the economic development of our region by preparing young people with skills they can directly apply in the workforce.”

Completion of the program with a high school diploma and a college certificate will allow students to enter the workforce with a marketable skill, increase their lifetime income and provide the opportunity to continue with their higher education.

“The Robinson-Broadhurst program means everything to me. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet new people and experience what independence really means. I joined the program so I could feel my way through what I wanted to do with my life and build a good foundation to pursue my dream,” said Deven Tenney.

“I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to get a year of college done while I was completing my senior year of high school,” said Shelby Selmmer. “I knew that I had the chance to earn college credits before I graduated and to get an early start in my college career.”

The program is led by Veronica Guay, Director of Dual Enrollment, and Shaunti Phillips, CVTE Transition Counselor, in MWCC’s Division of Access & Transition, in partnership with Murdock Guidance Counselors.

 

 

MWCC will present an information session on its new Health Information Management associate degree program and career opportunities in this growing field. The free information session, led by Associate Professor Mary Jo Bowie, MS, RHIA, RHIT, will take place Wednesday, April 2 at 5 p.m. at the Gardner campus, room 127.

Health information management is a vital component of the healthcare process. Individuals working in HIM are at the intersection of medicine, business and legal, and play a key role in ensuring that the healthcare organization is compliant with state and federal regulations regarding capture, storage and release of all medical data. In this career, individuals who have an interest in the medical field and information technology skills contribute greatly to the healthcare industry without being direct care providers.

This field is seeing rapid expansion with major federal initiatives, including the conversion of all medical records to electronic medium at a national level, and the conversion of the coding structure used throughout the U.S., as well as a new method of paying for healthcare (pay for performance). These initiatives will require significant new hiring of HIM-credentialed employees to meet workforce needs over the next 10 years.

“MWCC is poised to meet these industry needs through the implementation of this new program,” said Margaret Jaillet, Associate Dean of MWCC’s School of health Professions, Public Service Programs and Social Sciences.

“Our new Health Information Management program offers students an opportunity to attain a credential as a registered health information technician or certified coder. Both of these credentials will be highly sought after in the coming years due to the national initiatives,”

In addition to serving as an Associate Professor Ms. Bowie is a consultant and owner of Health Information Professional Services in Binghamton, New York.  Previously she served as an instructor in the Health Information Technology program at Broome Community College in Binghamton. She is an active member of the American Health Information Management Association and has been a consultant to acute care, long term care, drug and alcohol, ambulatory surgery centers and other facilities for 22 years. She has worked in the health information management profession for 27 years and is the author of several textbooks including Essentials of Health Information Management: Principles and Practices and Understand ICD -10-CM and ICD-10-PCS: A Workbook.

MWCC is currently accepting applications to this academic program, which will begin this fall. For more information call 978-630-9292 or email mjaillet@mwcc.mass.edu.

Jillian Johnson in library

Student Trustee Jillian Johnson, who aspires to become an orthodontist, began her academic studies at age 16 in MWCC’s Pathways Early College Innovation School.

Motivated teens interested in paring two years of time and expenses off their college education should check out the Pathways Early College Innovation School at Mount Wachusett Community College. Praised by state education officials, parents and participating students, the two-year, dual enrollment program allows high school juniors to simultaneously earn their high school diploma and a transferable associate degree in the academic program of their choice.

Twenty new students will be accepted into the program for the fall semester, beginning Sept. 3. A series of required, two-day information sessions have been scheduled throughout the spring and summer.

One of the first two innovation schools created in Massachusetts in 2010 under Governor Deval Patrick’s education reform bill and the state’s first early college innovation school, Pathways provides high school juniors and home schooled students the opportunity to accelerate the pace of their academic careers using school choice funds to cover tuition and fees.

“Pathways has given me a support net that I will use for the rest of my life,” said Jillian Johnson, a Liberal Arts and Sciences major who serves as student trustee on MWCC’s Board of Trustees. “I have grown as a person and would not be who I am today without it. I have discovered new passions and rediscovered old ones. This program has shown me to not just meet expectations, but to surpass them. It taught me to go above and beyond. I recommend this program for any student who is willing to put in the work and wants something more than just average,” she said.

“This program was ideal for me. I love the atmosphere, the teachers, and my peers. Everyone wants to see you succeed and encourages you to do your best. Pathways taught me to not ignore opportunities and to experience new things. I have become a new person and I’m proud of my accomplishments and who I am thanks to the Pathways program.”

Her mother, Julie Johnson, also praised the program for the opportunities it creates. “It was great for Jillian to have an alternative to high school. She needed to be challenged and put in an environment that supports and encourages personal and academic growth. Pathways allowed Jillian to finish her high school requirements while tackling new subjects to work toward her associate degree. The flexibility of the Pathways program allowed Jillian to become her own person and have the independence and responsibility that a young person needs. I have nothing but good things to say about the program. It was the perfect match for her.”

The Pathways innovation school is a partnership between MWCC and the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District. Students are enrolled in college courses and integrated into campus life, and receive personalized advising from MWCC’s Division of Access & Transition throughout their studies. Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matthew Malone, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester and Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland have been among the officials to visit the Pathways school and praise it as an innovative, successful model.

To be eligible, students must live in Massachusetts, possess a minimum high school grade point average of 3.0, be at least 16 years old and entering grade 11 by the start of the fall semester, and be recommended by the sending school.

“Pathways students are motivated and mature,” said Pathways Director Natalie Mercier.  “They are not just passing classes at MWCC, they are thriving,” she said.

Upcoming information sessions will take place April 8 & 10; May 6 & 8; June 10 & 12; June 24 & 26; July 8 & 10; July 22 & 24. The first day of each session is the information portion and will be held in room W11 from 6 to 7 p.m. On the second day of each sessions, students are required to take the Accuplacer test. This will take place at noon in the Testing Center, room 129.

For additional information or to arrange an appointment, contact  Natalie Mercier at nmercier@mwcc.mass.edu or 978-630-9248.

Pictured from left, QCC President Gail Carberry; QCC biotechnology student Jose Cruz; Governor Deval Patrick; MWCC Allied Health student Jenna Bonci; MWCC President Daniel Asquino; and Beth Nicklas, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center General Counsel and Vice President for Academic and Workforce Programs.

Governor Deval Patrick has announced nearly $1 million in grants to support life sciences related capital projects for Mount Wachusett Community College and Quinsigamond Community College to better respond to the region’s growing need for skilled workers in biotechnology, biomedical engineering and pharmaceuticals. The Governor made the announcement at QCC on March 6.

“In order for Massachusetts to continue to create jobs and prosper, we must train our workers for the jobs of the 21st century global economy,” said Governor Patrick. “Our innovation economy relies on a well-educated, well-skilled workforce, and these grants will expand opportunity and grow jobs in central Massachusetts.”

MWCC was awarded a $500,000 grant to upgrade aging and outdated equipment and add new equipment that aligns with current industry standards for its core life sciences courses in biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology and plant science. These courses provide the basic foundation for MWCC’S existing biotechnology, natural resources and clinical laboratory science degree programs and three new proposed degree programs in quality and analytical technology, liberal arts and sciences biology and chemistry to be rolled out in fall 2014. The funding will make it possible for MWCC to substantially improve its curriculum to integrate more hands-on, real-world laboratory experiences and add an organic chemistry course, an equipment heavy foundational course for biological sciences and molecular biology studies. The grant will enable MWCC to fully upgrade its laboratory science equipment and to ensure employers have the skilled workforce they require for creating and retaining jobs in the life sciences.

“As Mount Wachusett Community College prepares to break ground this fall on a new science and technology building, the continued support of the Commonwealth, through this generous grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, could not be more timely and appreciated,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “This funding will enable us to provide cutting-edge equipment for our new laboratories, as well as much-needed upgrades to existing laboratories to enhance the academic experience for our students and ensure that employers have the skilled workforce they need for creating and retaining jobs in the STEM fields.”

Student Jenna Bonci, who is preparing for a career in health care, also represented MWCC at the event.

“I believe that all students enrolled in life science courses and programs at the Mount will benefit from this updated equipment and from the commitment it represents to their academic success. With this grant, students will be able to transition to their future jobs with a better understanding of the ever-changing equipment and strategies within the life sciences,” she said.

Earlier that day, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that Massachusetts added over 55,000 jobs in 2013, the largest number of jobs created in a single year in nearly 15 years.

Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, Massachusetts has emerged as the global leader in life sciences. Through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences ecosystem. To date, the MLSC has awarded more than $330 million to support life sciences-related capital projects across the state, creating thousands of jobs and more than 1.3 million square feet of new education, research and manufacturing space.

“The life sciences sectors are now the fastest job producers in Massachusetts so a key strategy of the Life Sciences Center is to use our capital dollars to ensure that students all across the Commonwealth are prepared to compete successfully for these jobs,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “The projects at Quinsigamond Community College and Mount Wachusett Community College are great examples of our investments to achieve that objective. Community colleges, and the six high schools we are recognizing today, play major roles in training the next generation of our state’s life sciences workforce, and they ensure that training for innovation economy jobs is inclusive and available all across the state. Our grants help ensure that these schools can provide students with first-rate training facilities.”

“One reason our innovation economy is strong and growing is because of our state’s strong higher education institutions,” said Secretary Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki. “This funding will help ensure that these facilities are equipped with the tools and support they need to provide world-class education and training opportunities.”

“Mount Wachusett Community College is uniquely poised to innovate in the life sciences sector because it is a top public educational institution,” Senator Stephen M. Brewer. “I am honored to support this grant, and to represent the Mount Wachusett community in the Senate.”

“This funding comes at a perfect time for Mount Wachusett Community College, as they begin making major renovations to their science facilities in the coming months,” said Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan. “Many thanks to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center; the Mount, as they always do, will do great things with this support.”

“Mount Wachusett Community College is an important part of our community and it is wonderful to see them have the opportunity to continue to grow,” said Representative Jonathan D. Zlotnik. “Many thanks to the Massachusetts Life Science Center for their support of the new upgrades for MWCC that will benefit students and educators for many years to come.”

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki toured the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Certification Center at Mount Wachusett Community College’s Devens campus on Feb. 27.

During the tour, a live training class was in session, providing a firsthand glimpse of the hard work that occurs at the center on a daily basis. The tour highlighted the center’s ability to provide space and tools for hands-on experience to participants seeking skills recognized by their industry as critical to their success.

“These centers are the driving forces behind providing our workforce with the skills they need to compete, and are a critical part of the reason why Massachusetts is leading the nation in growing a 21st century advanced manufacturing sector,” said Secretary Bialecki. “We remain committed to supporting this vital industry and ensuring a strong manufacturing workforce for our future.”

“Mount Wachusett Community College is proud to be recognized as an educational leader that delivers quality, advanced level training to learners of all ages. We are fortunate to be selected as stewards of federal and state resources that enable us to build upon our successful community and industry partnerships, in collaboration with the Commonwealth, to bring the very best training opportunities to our regional workforce,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.

The center is funded in part by the federal $20 million Community Colleges grant, provides industry-recognized assessments to companies looking to evaluate current and potential staff in the areas of mechanical, electrical and programmable logic circuitry skills.The center also serves as a venue for industry meetings and workshops and is a resource to the region.

MWCC was also chosen as the recipient of a grant in 2012 as part of Governor Patrick’s Community College initiative to put more people in Massachusetts back to work and to strengthen the connections between community colleges, employers and the workforce.The $272,000 grant was used to increase college readiness and ultimate attendance rates, improvement of student success at the College and a new commitment to civic engagement activity.

Other assessments, including the nationally recognized WorkKeys program, are available to employers. Curriculum designed to meet specific incumbent worker training needs is also available, as is the ability to work with companies to develop grant proposals for training through the state Workforce Training Fund.

Prior to the tour, Secretary Bialecki led a roundtable discussion with the North Central Advanced Manufacturing Consortia, comprised of workforce, education and employer partners to discuss the partnership work to support manufacturing in the region and future plans, including an update on the current Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, grants from the U.S. Department of Labor, and Rapid Response grants.

This meeting is one in a series taking place at manufacturing sites across the Commonwealth to discuss regional manufacturing partnerships. These partnerships are led by workforce, education and business leaders who are working together to train entry level workers to increase the talent pipeline and training incumbent workers as part of succession planning for hundreds of manufacturers across the state.

Brittany Brewer began her academic career at MWCC through the ABE program.

For decades, Mount Wachusett Community College has been the regional go-to site that helps adults who never completed high school begin a new chapter in their lives by earning their General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

The supportive environment at Mount Wachusett has helped thousands of students, like 23-year-old Brittany Brewer of Gardner, set and reach new goals. Brewer, who left high school at age 16, enrolled in MWCC’s free Adult Basic Education classes at age 21 and earned her high school equivalency diploma in 2012. Since then, she enrolled in the college’s ABE Transition to College program, where she is earning great grades in English and math courses in preparation for pursuing a college degree in business and accounting.

The first in her family to attend college, Brewer is determined to build a better future for herself and her two-year-old son, Leo.

“He’s the reason I returned to school. I want him to have things in life that I never had. I don’t have any footsteps to follow, but I want to leave some for my son to follow. I’m making my own way to clear a path for my son.”

In January, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education selected Educational Testing Service (ETS) to administer the new high school equivalency assessment in the state. The new assessment, called HiSET, will replace the GED credential in Massachusetts.

Mount Wachusett Community College has administered the GED exam for many years and will be certified to offer the HiSET assessment to residents of North Central Massachusetts.

MWCC’s GED Test Center will now be known as the High School Equivalency Test Center. Adults who are 18 years old and older may take the high school equivalency test if they have not previously received a high school diploma. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds may take the test only if they are no longer enrolled in school. Testing will begin this spring.

MWCC is committed to providing adults and out of school youth the opportunity to obtain a high school equivalency credential in order to assist them in accessing post-secondary education and skills training programs.

Academic advisors are available to work with students on evaluating their options once they complete the Massachusetts High School Equivalency credential. This new activity has been added in all Adult Basic Education programs statewide, to provide college and career readiness for all HiSET graduates.

Extensive research has proved that in order for citizens to be more successful, they need to have some sort of post-secondary education or training.

MWCC’s free Adult Basic Education courses to prepare students for the HiSET test are available at the college’s campuses in Gardner, Leominster and Devens. These classes are funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The college also offers classes for Winchendon residents at the Winchendon Community Action Center. The Winchendon Skills Program is funded through a generous grant from the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation.

For more information, contact Pamela Dempsey-O’Connell at 978-630-9259 or email pdempsey-connell@mwcc.mass.edu. For general information about the new HiSET test, go to http://hiset.ets.org.