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RCC Receives $2.9 Million From U.S. Department of Education to Support Minority and Hispanic Students and Support Career Pathways and Workforce Development

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. (September 8, 2020) – Rockland Community College has been awarded a five-year, $2.9 million grant through the Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions program, the second time the college has received the prestigious grant.

“This honor is a recognition of the hard work of our faculty, staff and students in transitioning our institution to a Guided Pathways model to ensure student success,” says Dr. Michael A. Baston, President of Rockland Community College. “These award funds will help RCC focus deeply on building its career and workforce development practice, growing our connections with workforce partners and redesigning academic programs that augment the region's talent pipeline in high-demand occupations. I am grateful for the critical work of our federal government partners including Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, in helping RCC obtain this important funding."

RCC will receive an initial $550,086 to jumpstart Real World Ready! Strengthening Career Pathways to Empower Workforce Ready Students, a new initiative designed to close gaps in workforce development in Rockland County. Students from diverse backgrounds—including low-income, first generation, and minority/Hispanic—had direct input into project planning. Students also provided input related to barriers to degree completion, challenges in securing employment after completion and what they look for in an experiential learning activity.

Workforce programs such as Technology Education, Hospitality/Culinary Arts, Health Education (Addictions Management), Graphic Design (Animation and Visual Communications concentrations), Automotive Technology and Cyber Security will be targeted with embedded career pathways, intentional connections to workforce partners and high impact practices demonstrated to improve student outcomes both academically and in the workforce. Key project outcomes include increased enrollment and retention, as well as improvements in financial literacy through increasing use of the Guided Pathways approach, which features additional supportive services, career exploration and inventories, and expanded access to financial support and financial aid.

Through policy revisions and redesigned curricula, RCC will be able to reduce the time needed to earn a credential that provides a secure career with a family-supporting wage. The grant also provides valuable funds for a new Dean to focus on career and workforce development, web-based tools to support career exploration, additional student support personnel and upgrades to critical information technology.

“As our economy changes at an unprecedented rate, we need our students and education system to keep pace, and that’s why this is a smart investment,” says Senator Schumer. “Young adults across the Hudson Valley region must be college- and career-ready to meet the demands of today’s industries. These funds will help provide our local colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions with the tools they need to provide quality education for our students. I will continue to do everything in my power to help New York students prepare for the future and reach their fullest potential.”

“Every young person should get the chance to receive a quality education and earn a good paying job,” says Senator Gillibrand. “However, the high rate of youth unemployment, particularly for minorities and youth from underserved communities, highlights the obstacles that stand in the way. This great investment in Rockland Community College will help provide students across the Hudson Valley with the educational opportunities and skills needed to be successful in school and to prepare for a future career.”

About Rockland Community College, State University of New York

Rockland Community College, State University of New York, offers a safe, supportive learning environment for thousands of students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Thanks to the school’s affordable tuition, students who begin their career journey at RCC and then transfer to a four-year college can save up to $100,000 on their education. RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through its new Career Skills Academy. More information can be found at www.sunyrockland.edu.

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