Quinsigamond Community College announced two initiatives in Blackstone Valley in June, which will improve the accessibility and affordability of training and educational programs for residents of the region.
A ribbon cutting was held for the QCC Blackstone Valley Internet Learning Café at Alternatives Unlimited in Whitinsville.
“This will expand access for the people of Blackstone Valley to the broad range of programming QCC offers,” said QCC President Gail Carberry. “Students can engage with one another, as well as learn online in a common space. Students will be supported by advisors, financial aid officers and other support staff.”
Dr. Carberry said the college worked with public and private sector partnerships for this project.
More than 700 students at QCC hail from the Blackstone Valley, with about 200 of them taking online courses, she said. QCC offers more than 70 degree programs online, in subjects ranging from tech, business, human services, education, liberal arts, criminal justice, health and more.
Dennis Rice, Executive Director of Alternatives, said the organization has opened different career centers throughout the region that give something back to the community, through initiatives such as art galleries, gardens and more.
“With this partnership with QCC, we have created a space and raised funds for a learning café,” he said. “We are very excited to be partnered with QCC.”
The café in the renovated Whitin Mill will offer a place for students, clients and employees of Alternatives and the public to use free wifi, grab a cup of coffee and a pastry and take online courses through QCC.
Alternatives is a leading provider of services for adults with developmental or psychiatric disabilities in Central Massachusetts.
State Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury, said the legislature and community partners have been working to get something going in Blackstone Valley for almost 20 years.
“I look forward to this being the first of many celebrations of growing this program, with the vision of a satellite campus in Blackstone Valley,” Mr. Moore said. “Higher education is an economic driver, if we bring students, it will also bring their business to other establishments in the area.”
An alum of QCC, Mr. Moore said QCC offers a great education. “They can help set you in the right direction,” he said. “Graduates today have so many choices, and many positions need a higher level of skill.”
He thanked the legislative delegation for their hard work bringing this project to fruition. He said former State Sen. Richard Moore was involved in getting the fiscal appropriation of $300,000 for the expansion into Blackstone Valley.