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MWCC Expanding Dual Enrollment Opportunities

Mount Wachusett Community College has been awarded a prestigious grant from The American Psychology Foundation to support a new dual enrollment program for North Central Massachusetts high school students interested in careers in the field of psychology. In addition, the college received a new grant from the Winchendon-based Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation to provide a one-year, full-time dual enrollment program that will allow up to 20 Winchendon students to simultaneously earn an academic certificate and their high school diploma.

The goal of the Careers in Psychology project is to provide exposure for underrepresented, gifted high school students to the field of psychology and the range of career options it offers. Building on the college’s existing Introduction to Psychology class, MWCC will recruit 60 additional high school students from throughout North Central Massachusetts to a second offering of the course as well as a higher-level course, Human Growth and Development.

Both courses will be redesigned to include a career component which illustrates the breadth of potential career choices available to those who major in psychology. The courses will incorporate a speakers’ series made up of professionals working in counseling, forensic psychology, addiction counseling, executive coaching, sports psychology, elder care human services, management, and other areas, all of whom began with degrees in psychology. The courses will also incorporate field trips to mental health facilities, giving students exposure to the operation and services of the facilities, as well as other career resources that will be integrated into the curriculum.

The Introduction to Psychology course has consistently had a high level of interest, resulting in a larger number of qualified students than available seats. Funding from the APF will allow the college to triple the number of college-level psychology courses to accommodate high school students who want to get an early start on their college studies.

The Careers in Psychology program will be led by Director of Dual Enrollment Veronica Guay. Dr. Ruth Slotnick, Director of Articulation and Learning Assessment, will provide oversight for evaluation of the program outcomes, and instructor Stephen Dubzinski will teach the courses.

In the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation Career Tech Scholarship program, six Murdock High School seniors are enrolled at MWCC full-time this year to simultaneously earn their high school diploma and an academic certificate from MWCC. By the time the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation Scholars graduate in spring 2013, they will have earned academic credentials to enter the workforce and will have completed the first year toward an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Through this generous donation, the students are provided with scholarship funds to begin a trade or technical program in the automotive technology, allied health, information technology support or accounting certificate programs. The foundation awarded $29,600 for the current academic year to the MWCC Foundation to support the new program and cover full tuition and fees. The cost of textbooks is being covered through the MWCC Foundation’s David Jacques Memorial Book Fund.

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. At the end of the first year, the program will be reviewed for possible grant renewal to support seven additional students in the 2013-2014 academic year, and seven additional students in the 2014-2015 academic year, for a total of 20 seniors over a three-year period.

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