Governor Deval Patrick has announced $4 million in grants to support increased skill training and workforce alignment, improved student learning outcomes and efficiency measures at community colleges across the Commonwealth. These grants deliver on the goals of the Governor’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.
“A stronger community college system is good for students and employers and today we give campuses more tools to strengthen themselves,” the governor said when making the announcement on Sept. 24. “Since the beginning, we have attached our proposals with resources so campuses can expand their efforts to provide students with the training and academic foundation they need. By strengthening the connections between our campuses, our employers and our workforce, we will give each and every one of our students the opportunity to succeed.”
The community college grants awarded through the Performance Incentive Fund (PIF) deliver on Governor Patrick’s pledge to invest further in our community college system, and will give campuses the additional capacity they need to promote higher completion rates of degrees and certificates, be more responsive to the needs of local economies as well as of the state’s fastest growing sectors and adopt a system-wide standard core of course offerings.
Mount Wachusett Community College will receive $272,000 to increase college readiness and ultimate attendance rates, improvement of student success at the College and a new commitment to civic engagement activity.
“As our economic recovery continues we are finding employers in some areas, such as advanced manufacturing, need assistance connecting with available, skilled workers,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “The grants announced by Governor Patrick and other initiatives designed to connect employers with workers are part of our long-term economic planning goal of building and maintaining a workforce that is talented, well-trained and meeting the needs of businesses.”
Higher Education Commissioner Richard M. Freeland said the awards “reflect an impressive commitment across our community colleges to achieve a central goal of the Vision Project, which is to ensure that maximum numbers of our students achieve their educational goals.”
Of the $5 million allocation, $2.9 million is being awarded to fund new initiatives, $500,000 is being awarded as second year grants to projects funded last year under the PIF and $400,000 will be used to implement a system-wide credit transferability infrastructure. Grants to award the remaining $1 million balance will be announced later this year to incentivize credit transferability and efficiency measures among campuses.