Quinsigamond Community College has had a presence in the Southbridge community for the last 38 years, beginning with a variety of individual course offerings in partnership with Southbridge High School. In 2009, QCC opened a satellite location in Southbridge. On October 25, QCC solidified its investment in South County by officially inaugurating its Computer Systems Engineering Technology (CSET) and enhanced science labs in a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house. The labs were made possible through a $488,735 Workforce Skills Capital Grant that was awarded to QCC in 2016. The Workforce Skills Capital Grant Program is an initiative of the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which seeks to align education, workforce and economic development strategies across the state.
“I believe very strongly that education is a pathway to success. It’s the best way of success for the students and those who are working hard to achieve their dreams and to make something of themselves. It’s up to us to provide the resources they need and the opportunities they need to achieve those dreams,” said QCC’s new President, Dr. Luis G. Pedraja.
Part of that need is to offer services that mirror those required in today’s ever-changing, technology-driven world. Technology is now needed in all industries, from manufacturing, education and healthcare, to large corporations and small businesses. New skillsets have become necessary by students and those already in the workforce, in order to succeed in the business world. The addition of the new CSET lab at QCC Southbridge, will enable the college to meet this demand by bringing additional technical training options to the South County region.
The new CSET lab features 12 state-of-the-art workstations with hideaway, split desks that can bring up the computers when they are needed, or hide them away under the desks when not in use, simply at the touch of a button. The CSET lab is also equipped with servers and cabling, allowing students hands-on learning that replicates a business environment.
“We all require some level of information technology expertise. I believe we need to teach for the jobs of tomorrow. We need to open up these skillsets here in South County,” Dr. Pedraja said. “The opportunities that the CSET lab and the science lab enhancement will bring allows more people in this area to access classes they normally couldn’t access unless they traveled to Worcester.”
Additionally, community partnerships with area industries will continue to be a part of QCC Southbridge, with the new labs offering additional resources to community businesses.
“The Computer Systems Engineering Technology and Enhanced Science Labs strengthen our partnership with Quinsigamond Community College. They give us an opportunity to allow our young people to interact with college professors and utilize the most advanced technological equipment. QCC has been an amazing asset to the academic advancement of our students. We look forward to continued collaboration of preparing young people to compete in our global society,” said Dr. Andrae Townsel, principal of Southbridge High School.
Kathy Rentsch, Dean of Business, Engineering and Technology said workforce development opportunities will now be readily available in Southbridge for companies to have their employees learn new skillsets, in addition to unemployed or under-employed adults, who might want to obtain some quick skills to get back into the workforce.
“I believe in being present in the communities we serve. A community college is about serving the community. It’s not just bringing people to our location, it’s about going to where the needs are and where the people are. The students, the employers and the community need education,” Dr. Pedraja said.