This spring, MWCC’s Phi Delta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society inducted 85 new members, and presented sizeable donations to community organizations from funds raised through a variety of events.
During the chapter’s induction ceremony on May 4, chapter officers and members presented a $750 check to the Gardner Community Action Council, a $750 check to the Winchendon Community Action Council, and a $1,000 to the student-run Students Serving Our Students program at MWCC.
New inductees include: Marcus Altman, Justin Arsenault, Louis Ayisi, Ivy Benoit, Yvonne Bentley-Wandless, Thomas Berger, Adam Bergeron, John Blombach, Bryce Bodley-Gomes, Cynthia Boucher, Kaci Bradshaw, Lisa Clark, Kyle Cole, Emanuel Corbeil, Tiffany Cranfill, Rebecca Daniel, Carrie DeCosta, Bianca DiGiannantonio, Khaien Donawa, Julie Edwards, Krista Felaco, Roxanna Figueroa, Francisco Figueroa-Vazquez, Cassandra Fontaine, Chantal Froystein. Dawn Fuller, Carly Gagne, Sara Gallant, Paul Galvin, Chelsea Garrity, Corinne Goodrich, Jamie Grant, Celine Grimley, Paulette Hachey, Stephen Hall, Kaitlyn Jozefiak, Yasmine Kanaan, Carol Karuci-Mirolli, Sara Khan, Helen Koge, Rose LaFargue, Emily Lapinskas, Cassondra Lavigne, Samantha Lazo, Kimberley LeBlanc, Elie LeMieux, Leslie Lupien, Paula Lynde, Trevor Malerbi, Tammy Mariani, Leanne McCarthy, Ellen McGahan, Catherine Migwi, Marissa Mitchell, Lauren Molnar, Jana Murphy, Eliud Mwangi, Dorcas Mwathi, Kimberli Nutting, Todd Perry, Michelle Racette, Karren Ricci, Bryan Richard, Magaly Rios, Nathan Roberts, Tasha Rocheford, Darlene Rossi, Angelica Ryan, Erik Salmonson, Jacqueline Scribner, Brendan Shea, Jennifer Snow, Trenton Solomon, Silvana Sosa, Phillip Stan, Rachel Sullivan, Teresa Tambling, Austina Towle, Aaron Trudeau, Mary Volpe, Christopher Waye, Melissa Wilbur and Robert Williams.
Community leader and long-serving volunteer James O. Garrison is the recipient of Mount Wachusett Community College’s 2015 Service Above Self Award. The award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions within the 29 cities and towns that make up the college’s service area, will be presented during MWCC’s 50th Commencement on Wednesday, May 20.
“We are proud to present this year’s Service Above Self Award to Jim Garrison for the tremendous impact he has made on our college, in the lives of so many of our students, and in the greater community,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.
“Mr Garrison’s spirit of generosity and willingness to share his time, talents and resources epitomize the essence of what it means to be a caring, engaged citizen in a democratic society,” President Asquino said. “His philanthropic endeavors have resulted in countless improvements and changes to MWCC that have enhanced the learning environment for college students and children and the vital role the college plays in the community.”
A member of MWCC’s Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2014, including four years as chair, the Philadelphia native developed a passion for education and helping others while earning an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Garrisons moved to North Central Massachusetts in 1990 when he purchased the Gardner company H&R 1871, and immediately became involved in community service.
“The thing that struck me about Gardner was the dedication of the people in the community,” Mr. Garrison said. “Within the first week of arriving, I was visited by a number of business leaders, including President Asquino.” The first program launched by the company and MWCC focused on helping high school graduates get back on track. The program was not successful, Mr. Garrison said, due to a high rate of homelessness among the participants. However it raised awareness of underlying issues, and correlation between the importance of early childhood education prior to kindergarten, and academic success later in life.
With this in mind, in 2005, he and his wife, Peggy, donated $1 million to the MWCC Foundation to support stipends for MWCC students in need of child care, as well as scholarships for students studying early childhood education. The Garrisons also provided additional funding to build the child care center and preschool on the Gardner campus, which is named in their honor.
Mr. Garrison, a resident of Acton, continues to volunteer as a member of the MWCC Foundation. In addition, he currently serves as chair of the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, chair of the Greater Gardner Industrial Development Corporation and Foundation, chair of the GFA Federal Credit Union Supervisory Committee, and on the Heywood Hospital Board of Trustees. Previously, he served on the board of directors of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of North Central Massachusetts.
A former president and CEO of Instron Corp., in Canton, which manufactures and services materials testing instruments, system and accessories, Mr. Garrison retired from the U.S. Naval Reserves with the rank of Commander. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Miami University in Ohio, followed by an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Recognized for his dedication promoting education, health and economic development, Mr. Garrison is a recipient of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and Business Person of the Year awards; the MWCC Foundation Harold E. Drake Jr. Citizen of the Year Award; Gardner Visiting Nurses Association Make a Difference Award, and Community Health Connections’ Community Health Champion Award. Earlier this year, Mr. and Mrs. Garrison were recognized with the Heywood Healthcare Community Health Hero Award.
Mount Wachusett Community College President Daniel M. Asquino and Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development Jacqueline Belrose joined colleagues from three other community colleges to share highlights of their advanced manufacturing partnership during the American Association of Community Colleges’ annual conference in April in Texas.
In September, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $15.9 million TAACCCT grant to expand career opportunities in advanced manufacturing at MWCC and partnering Southwest Tennessee Community College, North Central State College in Ohio, and Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana. The colleges created the Advanced Manufacturing, Mechatronics, and Quality Consortium (AMMQC) to help job seekers quickly obtain training and credentials in the advanced manufacturing fields of Mechatronics and Quality career pathways.
“This grant is the story of how four colleges drew on the strengths of each region and are able to effectively work on a project in which our consortium is stronger than the sum of our parts,” President Asquino said during conference presentation. “We designed this using a Center of Excellence approach, in which our emphasis was on obtaining funding that would promote our areas of strength, and not simply address perceived shortfalls and weaknesses. We committed to establishing regional advisory boards drawn from our local manufacturers. And we agreed to work with the Manufacturing Institute so we could ensure that our curriculum aligns with various industry recognized credentials.”
As a group, the programs share a common interest in appropriate and deliberate use of assessment tools, non-credit to credit transition, acceleration of degree completion, and the nexus between education and industry credentials.
Prior to the presentation, the AMMQC national advisory board met. In addition to President Asquino, members include Jacqueline Belrose, MWCC Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development and National Director of the AMMQC grant; Dennis Bunnell, Industry Consultant and Committee Chair; Barbara P. Roseborough, Interim Provost and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Southwest Tennessee Community College; Dr. Rick Bateman, Jr., Chancellor, Bossier Parish Community College; Dorey Diab, President, North Central State College; and Brent Weil, Senior Vice President and Treasurer, The Manufacturing Institute.
Elizabeth Moison, who participates in MWCC’s GEAR UP program at Fitchburg High School, achieved a tremendous result on the fall 2014 PSAT which qualifies her to participate in the College Board’s National Merit Scholarship Program during her senior year.
In order to be considered, a student must score in the top 50,000 out of 1.5 million test participants. By achieving such outstanding results, Elizabeth will now have the opportunity to possibly achieve National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist or Commended Student status, to be reported in September 2016.
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a joint venture between Mount Wachusett Community College and FHS. The program provides services at high poverty middle and high schools and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
“Elizabeth is an example of a student who has taken full advantage of all of the outstanding opportunities in the Fitchburg Public Schools since kindergarten,” said Fitchburg Public Schools Superintendent Andre Ravenelle. “Her personal academic success and leadership as the student representative to school committee are a tribute to her, her family and the whole FPS community.”
Gardner Mayor, MWCC Trustee and Alumnus Mark Hawke shared lessons learned throughout his career in business and public service with 17 Mount Wachusett Community College students who were inducted into the Chi Gamma Chapter of Alpha Beta Gamma, an international business honor society, at the 25th annual induction ceremony, Thursday, April 23.
After graduating from MWCC, Hawke transferred to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he earned a bachelor’s degree, then went on to earn an MBA from Anna Maria College. After pursuing a career as a financial analyst, he took a pay cut to take a job with the City of Gardner, and learned he loved the work so much, he wanted to run for Mayor. Now serving his eighth year as mayor, he still loves the work. “In this job, I can see the results of our work. If we plan to build a playground, we build a playground. If we say we are going to fill a pothole, we fill a pothole and we see the result.”
He shared several pieces of advice gathered from his own career and lessons learned from other business leaders. “Never stop learning, never stop trying, and surround yourself with a good team,” he said. He challenged the students to work hard and always to strive to surpass expectations. “You will be noticed and rewarded.” He also credited Mount Wachusett Community College for putting him on a path of academic success. “It is an intimate setting and you really get to know the faculty, the staff and the college leadership,” he explained.
To be eligible for membership into Alpha Beta Gamma, students must be enrolled in a business curriculum, have completed 15 academic credit hours in a specific degree program and demonstrate academic excellence by attaining a grade point average of 3.0 or above. At MWCC, the programs include Business Administration, Paralegal Studies, Computer Information Systems, Graphic & Interactive Design, and Medical Assisting.
The Chi Gamma chapter has a long history of community involvement, including activities to benefit NEADS, a Princeton-based service assistance dog organization; the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center; the House of Peace and Education in Gardner; local food pantries; military troops serving overseas; and the national Alzheimer’s Association.
With a nod to its future and that of its students, Mount Wachusett Community College celebrated the start of construction of its eco-friendly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) addition during a “Building Beyond Tomorrow” ceremony on Earth Day, April 22.
“Today we celebrate not just the assembly of bricks and mortar, but we truly lay a foundation literally and figuratively for the future of our school, our students, alumni, and indeed the future of our greater community,” MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino said to the gathering of students, faculty, legislators, community leaders and college supporters.
The new building will replace existing laboratories nearly a half-century old and will enhance the learning environment for all students, particularly those seeking careers in the STEM fields, he said.
“Our STEM students include first-generation college students aspiring to be the first in their families to attain higher education.
Many of the students are participating in the college’s STEM Starter Academy, a program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education, as well as the STEM SET Scholars program, funded through a grant by the National Science Foundation which awards up to $3,300 per year to participants.
“This building represents a tremendous investment by the Commonwealth in the future of our region’s students and graduates,” he said. “Today’s families and students are seeking ways to fund a college education in an era where student loan debt has ballooned and placed a tremendous financial burden on so many graduates.
“Increasingly, more students are recognizing the value of beginning their academic studies at MWCC before transferring for a bachelor’s degree and other advanced degrees in the profession of their choice. By helping them during these foundation years, Mount Wachusett Community College plays a key role in meeting state and national goals of filling a shortage of graduates both at the state and national level to remain competitive globally.”
Carol Gladstone, Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, noted that the project is one of many DCAMMM projects at MWCC in recent years, including the construction of two wind turbines in 2010, the Garrison Center for Early Childhood Education in 2006, the Senator Robert D. Wetmore Center for Innovation in 2004, and the biomass heating system in 2002.
During her first groundbreaking ceremony since being appointed earlier this year, Commissioner Gladstone said the project blends new, state-of-the-art construction with much-needed renovations that tie in with the college’s nationally recognized sustainability initiatives. “But what’s really most important is the purpose – the students – who are preparing to become nurses, dental hygienists, physical therapist assistants, scientists and other technology specialists to serve the Commonwealth.”
Long-serving State Senator Stephen M. Brewer, State Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik and Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke, a member of MWCC’s Board of Trustees and an MWCC alumnus, were among the other featured speakers.
The new building is one of “so many wonderful things that have happened at Mount Wachusett Community College,” to benefit students, veterans and the region, said Senator Brewer, a key supporter of the new building during his tenure in office.
The $41 million project includes a 44,000 square-foot addition, a new 2,300-square-foot greenhouse and renovations throughout the existing Arthur F. Haley Academic Center. MWCC received $37.9 million in state capital funds for the project, as well as a $500,000 grant from Massachusetts Life Sciences for laboratory equipment.
Designed by Boston-based Architerra, Inc. to meet LEED Gold certification for efficiency and sustainability, the new building will contain energy-efficient features to tie in with the college’s commitment to sustainability. Shawmut Design & Construction, also based in Boston, is overseeing the 18-month project as construction manager. Completion is anticipated in fall 2016.
Amenities in the new building will include eight new classrooms and laboratories, four lab prep rooms, 24 new faculty offices, student study space and interior glass walls to highlight STEM student innovation. Renovations to the Haley Academic Center include a new visitor entrance, a multi-purpose room, an academic advising suite, a refurbished student-centered campus hub and increased accessibility to the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center.
From an economic standpoint, this is the largest construction project in North Central Massachusetts, which in itself helps boost the region’s economy by providing work for Massachusetts businesses and bringing more traffic to local businesses and service providers.
State officials, legislators and business and community leaders with join the MWCC community on Earth Day, April 22, to celebrate the start of construction of the college’s new $41 million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) building. The Building Beyond Tomorrow ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Commons Area of the Gardner campus.
Carol Gladstone, Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, and President Daniel M. Asquino will be among the featured speakers.
“This is another exciting milestone in the history of Mount Wachusett Community College,” said President Asquino. “This project supports trends in teaching and learning and reflects the national and statewide STEM initiatives while providing the best possible education for our students.”
Site preparation work began in March on the 44,000-square-foot addition and renovations to the Arthur F. Haley Academic Center. The Commonwealth is investing $38 million in the project to support the academic needs in North Central Massachusetts. The project will be one of the largest in North Worcester County.
Amenities will include eight new classrooms and laboratories, four lab prep rooms, 24 new faculty offices, student study space and interior glass walls to highlight STEM student innovation. New laboratory equipment, including projection microscopes with 60-inch flat screen monitors, will be acquired through a $500,000 grant the college received from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
Designed by Boston-based Architerra, Inc. to meet gold LEED certification for efficiency and sustainability, the new building will contain energy-efficient features related to heating, exhaust, lighting and plumbing to tie in with the college’s sustainability initiatives.
Upgrades to audio/visual equipment and enhanced wireless capabilities in labs and open areas, are also among the features, as well as a new 2,300-square-foot greenhouse for science programs. Improvements to the Haley Academic Center will include a new visitor entrance, a multi-purpose room, an academic advising suite, a refurbished student-centered campus hub and increased accessibility to the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center.
For the ninth consecutive year, Mount Wachusett Community College’s Early Childhood Education Department, MOC Head Start, students, teachers and most importantly, preschool children, have adorned the Garrison Center for Early Childhood Education with creations in celebration of the annual Week of the Young Child.
This year, the exhibit combined art, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, to tie in with the MWCC’s Humanities Initiative focused on the writer and naturalist.
To date, MWCC students have completed a combined 300 hours of service learning to make the event a success. Guests visited the center throughout the day on April 14, and were amazed at the imagination, ingenuity and creativity that children’s art represents. In the afternoon and evening parents, grandparents, friends and important others joined the children for an open house with Early Childhood students supporting the teachers and offering guided tours of the artwork. Additionally, accepted students in Early Childhood and Elementary Education were invited to join the festivities and learn more about the academic program.
“It certainly is a tremendous amount of work for all those involved, but when we have the opportunity to see the joy on the faces of our youngest members and hear them explain complicated pieces in the simplest of terms to those around them, we know why we are passionate about our art show,” said ECE Professor Maureen Provost.
“At the end of the day it is about the children, their families and their lives. I am thrilled to be part of their journey and excited to see what their futures hold. Thank you to anyone who was a part of this experience!”
This year’s event was sponsored by: the MWCC Early Childhood Education Department; children and teachers at the Garrison Center; MOC Childcare and Head Start Services; the Early Childcare Education Club; service learning students from Early Childhood and Elementary Education; the MWCC Humanities Project, funded through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities; and MWCC’s Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement.
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau
Recent graduates of Mount Wachusett Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Career Preparation program met special guests at their recognition ceremony – their potential employers.
Recruiters and human resource professionals from Nypro, Bemis Associates, Injectronics, RockTenn and Boutwell Owens were at the college’s Devens campus on April 9 to congratulate the new graduates and speak with them about job opportunities at their companies.
Julie Crowley, regional manager for the national grant funding the project, said the matchmaking is one service of the six-week program, currently free to qualifying students through a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration.
“We know this isn’t about just getting a job. This is going to be a career path,” Crowley said.
The training program is designed especially for unemployed or underemployed adults, veterans and recent high school graduates who want to train for careers the manufacturing industry. Programs provide students with training in skills required for entry-level employment in positions such as technicians in manufacturing, validation, quality control, documentation, and process operations. Students who successfully complete the program will earn an MWCC Certificate of Completion, an OSHA 10-hour Safety Certification and the National Career Readiness Certificate, while learning about working in the fast-growing manufacturing field.
Following stints in restaurants and lumberyards, plumbing and some manufacturing, 22-year-old Shane Murray of Fitchburg enrolled in the program to gain training and certification to build a career, he said. “I just needed a change and this was the perfect thing I needed. I’m glad I made this decision.”
Marciel Vargas, 38 worked in textile manufacturing in the Dominican Republic and holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from her native country. After moving to the U.S. a decade ago, she honed her English skills, raised her family and worked part-time as a tax preparer. When her children entered school, the Fitchburg resident decided it was time to re-enter the workforce. In addition to gaining employment, her goal is to become licensed in industrial engineering in Massachusetts within two years. She said she considers the MWCC training program an important rung in the ladder to get there.
“I enjoy the challenge of the work. I like to make things and there’s a variety of things you can do in manufacturing,” she said. “Even though you may be working on one specific product, there are a lot of things going on in the process.”
In addition to Murray and Vargas, other recent graduates are Chad McCarthy of Westminster, James Nason of Phillipston, Paul Kanga of Worcester, Jim Concannon of Fitchburg and Bill Cohan of Westford.
Lauren Beckner, human resources coordinator for Injectronics, said the medical device manufacturing company recently tapped into the training program for two components – blueprint reading and quality boot camp – to help an incumbent worker gain skills in order to be promoted.
Through the TAACCCT grant, the programs will continue to be offered for free for the next 18 months to prepare students to directly enter the workplace. The sessions include training in basic machines and robotics, measurement techniques, electronics, Lean,Six Sigma, Work Keys, quality/clean room processes, blueprint reading and success skills. Students can further their education in the manufacturing field through MWCC’s new academic certificate and associate degree programs in Analytical Laboratory & Quality Systems, and earn transferrable credits toward a bachelor’s degree.
An upcoming, two-week Quality Boot Camp training will begin on April 27. The upcoming six-week, 180-hour Advanced Manufacturing Career Preparation program will begin on May 11. This program is open to students who do not already have a college degree. The course includes hands-on work with robotics and other equipment, as well as self-paced KeyTrain curriculum leading to the National Career Readiness Certification. Additional six-week sessions will take place throughout the year.
For more information about enrolling in the training program, contact Career Development Coaches Christian Reifsteck or Meghan Koslowski at 978-630-9883 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.