Holyoke Community College and the other 14 community colleges in Massachusetts were recognized Monday, Dec. 12, in a State House ceremony for their work on a winning $20 million, career training grant from the U.S. Dept. of Labor and the U.S. Dept of Education.
The grant, announced in September, will deliver about $785,000 a year for three years to HCC, which will go toward specific career pathway programs. "For HCC, the grant means two of our exemplary degree and certification programs will get support: Clean Energy and Foundations of Health," said Marvin Weaver, HCC dean of Resource Development, who wrote HCC's piece of the grant proposal.Weaver attended the State House recognition ceremony in Boston.
HCC offers an associate degree in Sustainability Studies with a concentration in Clean Energy, as well as other concentrations in Sustainable Engineering and Green Entrepreneurship and certificate programs in Solar Energy, Wind Energy and Geothermal Energy. The requirements for HCC's Foundations of Health degree program include supervised work experience in the health professions.
"What the grant is about is pointing people toward jobs that industry needs to fill," said Weaver. "It's really about getting people into training programs and into degree programs and helping them complete those programs."
The winning proposal for the $20 million grant was submitted jointly by all 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges, with Quinsigamond Community College serving as the lead institution, in partnership with the state's departments of education and workforce and labor development.
Specifically, the grant will pay to set up and equip Clean Energy laboratories on the HCC campus and also pay for a full-time dedicated career advisor for HCC's popular Foundations of Health program. "The program needs its own advisor because there are so many students and so many career pathways," said Weaver.
"Healthcare is our largest employment sector outside of education."
The grant will also support additional career advising staff for HCC's Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs at the Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center in downtown Holyoke and the Ludlow Area Adult Learning Center in Ludlow.
HCC will collaborate with Berkshire Community College, Greenfield Community College and Springfield Technical Community College on marketing materials to put in career centers in the Pioneer Valley and on professional development programs for faculty and staff.
Other partners in the grant include local, one-stop career centers, such as Career Point in Holyoke and FutureWorks in Springfield, as well as those in Hampshire and Franklin counties. "This is about getting them to work more closely with college-bound students, to point people toward our career-based training and degree programs," Weaver said.
Photos: (Left) HCC instructor Rebecca Osborn helps a student in her Foundations of Health class. (Right) A student works on writing assignment at HCC's Adult Basic Education program located in downtown Holyoke in the Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center.