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Thanks to $450,000 Transition Grant, QCC Can Help More Students Focus on Their Future

April, 2020
  • Future Focus Coordinator Gilmarie Vongphakdy (L) and Director of Community Bridges Deborah Gonzalez.
    Future Focus Coordinator Gilmarie Vongphakdy (L) and Director of Community Bridges Deborah Gonzalez.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently awarded Quinsigamond Community College’s Future Focus program a three-year $450,000 Adult Education Transition to Community College Grant. The Grant is divided into three yearly allotments of $150,000, which is the maximum amount awarded.

QCC’s Future Focus program was designed specifically for adult learners from adult basic education programs to create a direct pathway to degree and certificate programs. Since 2010, the program has significantly increased its student enrollment and to date has served over 300 nontraditional students.

“Those in our community who are under-represented and under-served have benefited greatly from our Future Focus program. Increasing the award amount will enable us to assist more people in their quest for a better future,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

Future Focus students are non-traditional students who have gone through the traditional U.S. education system, but did not complete their school requirements and instead earned their GED or HiSET high school equivalency. These students can also be English as a Second Language (ESOL/ESL) participants who already have their high school diploma; or students who graduated from high school years ago and went directly into the workforce. Participants receive comprehensive support in order to help them succeed as they transition into higher education. The program covers all tuition and fees, books, school supplies (and bus passes if needed), in addition to career and academic advising.

“The program had a rotation of students, made up between first-semester students and second-semester students. The goal is to have 15 new students each semester, and students stay with the program for one year (two semesters). For the fall 2019 semester, the program served 26 students and during the spring 2020 semester, 30 students are currently enrolled,” said QCC Future Focus Coordinator, Gilmarie Vongphakdy.

QCC Future Focus students come from all areas in the community, which includes CNAs, police officers, grocery clerks, PCAs, a phlebotomist, caseworkers with Worcester youth, medical assistants, dental receptionists, factory workers, forklift drivers, bank tellers, parents, and many more.

“We have two students graduating this May and two more finishing up at the end of the Summer II semester,” Ms. Vongphakdy continued. “One student was accepted and will be attending Assumption College and the other student was accepted to Worcester State University and is waiting to hear back from some other schools. One of the other students who is graduating this summer has also been accepted to Boston University and is waiting to hear back from some other schools.”

To learn more about visit QCC’s Future Focus program

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