MWCC e-news graphic

July 26, 2010

In This Issue
MWCC and FSC Receive $585,000 AmeriCorps Grant to Address Joblessness in the Region
Community Leaders Appointed to MWCC Board of Trustees
Enrollment Underway for New Pathways Early College Innovation School
Theatre at the Mount Nominated for DASH Awards
Upcoming Events
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
MWCC and FSC Receive $585,000 AmeriCorps Grant to Address Joblessness in the Region
Mount Wachusett Community College and Fitchburg State College have been awarded a three-year, $585,000 AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to address joblessness and job preparedness in North Central Massachusetts in a unified regional approach.
The award is among the first of 329 made nationally under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act to help improve lives and strengthen communities throughout the country.
The colleges will receive an allocation, of $195,000 each year to fund the AmeriCorps Job Ready Project, which will place 15 full-time AmeriCorps members at 12 community sites throughout the region to increase career awareness, job readiness and career exploration skills of north central Massachusetts residents. The project will address the region's high unemployment rate through job preparedness and career exploration activities designed to assist three distinct target populations: high school and middle school students; college students and alumni; and the economically disadvantaged unemployed, those who are underemployed, and dislocated workers.
Through MWCC's Institute for Nonprofit Development, an inventory of community needs was conducted in 2009, with joblessness and job preparedness being identified as the region's primary need. MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino and Fitchburg State College President Robert V. Antonucci had the vision to provide a concerted and collaborative effort to address this problem through the colleges' respective civic engagement centers.
"For years, the north central region of Massachusetts has struggled with high unemployment and underemployment rates. The AmeriCorps Job Ready Program is a concerted effort on the part of Mount Wachusett Community College and Fitchburg State College to address a very real issue in our region," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "The collective energies of 15 full-time AmeriCorps members across our region over the next three years will undoubtedly create a ripple effect in terms of the preparedness of area youth and unemployed to access and prepare for the workforce. We are truly pleased to be able to offer this incredible resource, through our Center for Democracy & Humanity and in partnership with Fitchburg State College, to make a tangible difference in the north central Massachusetts region."
"The Douglas and Isabella Crocker Center for Civic Engagement is an ideal venue for Fitchburg State College to address these community concerns," said Fitchburg State College President Robert V. Antonucci. "This project is a meaningful collaboration that will have a real impact on our communities."
The colleges are in the process of recruiting 15 area residents to work as AmeriCorps members who will be responsible for training and preparing youth, the unemployed and the underemployed with 21st century job skills. Through the grant, the AmeriCorps members will receive a stipend for the full-time positions. Applications for the positions are due by noon on Aug. 6.
Two AmeriCorps members, serving as leaders, will be placed at MWCC and FSC to develop and implement volunteer and service learning projects focused on job preparedness. Thirteen additional members will be placed in the community through a competitive selection process. Each member will provide 1,700 hours of service, for a total of 25,500 hours of service each year.
The AmeriCorps members will be responsible for a variety of duties, including developing and coordinating volunteer and service learning projects related to job preparedness and career exploration; developing, implementing and conducting trainings on careers and their educational requirements, resume writing, networking, interviewing and job search skills; providing one-on-one resume assistance; leading career field trips; coordinating job shadowing, internship and mock-interview experiences; as well as coordinating and expanding existing job and career fairs.
All members will receive an orientation, participate in a weekly seminar on job preparedness and civic engagement, and receive one-on-one and group coaching by project staff.  Members have the option of taking the weekly seminar for credit at Fitchburg State toward the newly offered graduate certificate of civic engagement.
Individuals interested in applying to become an AmeriCorps member or staff support for this program are encouraged to contact Fagan Forhan, director of the Center for Democracy & Humanity at MWCC at (978) 630-9595 or, or Dr. John Chetro-Szivos, professor of Communication Media at FSC, (978) 665-3261 or More information and application forms also can be found at

Community Leaders Appointed to MWCC Board of Trustees

Trustee Migdalia Velez, with Jim Garrison and President AsquinoTwo North Central Massachusetts community leaders and an MWCC student leader were recently appointed to the college's Board of Trustees by Governor Deval Patrick.

Attorney Richard A. Cella and Migdalia Velez, both of Leominster, recently joined the board, along with Christina Lajoie of Fitchburg, an Early Childhood Education major. The three were sworn in during brief ceremonies at the college attended by board Chairman James Garrison and MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.

Throughout her career in North Central Massachusetts, Velez has worked for organizations that benefit youth in the region. She is currently assistant director of Youth & Family Center/Communities of Care at UMass Medical School in Worcester, and previously worked as a program coordinator at the Spanish American Center in Leominster and the LUK Crisis Center in Fitchburg, and as a bilingual resource teacher for the Montachusett Opportunity Council in Fitchburg. Her community activities include serving as co-chair of the Latino Partnership for Student Success; on the board of the UMass Memorial HealthAlliance Steering Committee on Health Disparities; as a member of the executive board of the Spanish American Center, and as member of the Community Builders Advisory Committee.

Trustees Lajoie and Cella, with chairman Garrison and President AsquinoIn addition to numerous professional memberships, Cella has served as secretary of the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation and as a trustee for the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts. He previously served as director and clerk of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corp.; as director and treasurer of the National Plastics Center and Museum in Leominster; as a trustee and member of the executive committee for Leominster Hospital/HealthAlliance Leominster; director of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce; chairman of the Mayor's Task Force in Leominster; and chair of the City of Leominster Industrial Development Commission.

Lajoie serves as president of the Early Childhood Education Club at MWCC and has volunteered in numerous capacities on campus and in the community in programs benefiting children and local nonprofit agencies.
Pictured above: New Trustee Migdalia Velez with President Daniel Asquino and Board Chairman Jim Garrison. Below: Chairman Garrison, Christina Lajoie, Richard Cella and President Asquino.

Enrollment Underway for New Pathways Early College Innovation School

 Mount Wachusett Community College is offering a series of information sessions in July and August for teenagers interested in enrolling in the new Pathways Early College Innovation School this fall or learning more about the new dual-enrollment program for high school juniors.
The Pathways school, established in partnership between the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District and MWCC, will be the first of two Innovation schools opening this September in the state, and is the first in Massachusetts established as an Early College High School under Gov. Deval Patrick's education reform bill. The primary purpose of the school is to provide motivated students with an alternate pathway to higher education. Early college programs are gaining momentum nationwide, allowing high school students to save time and money while pursuing their academic degrees.
"The cost of financing higher education is a major concern for many families, particularly in this economy," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "The Pathways innovation school will help families overcome that obstacle, while providing motivated students with an opportunity to get a jump on their college education in an exciting and supportive environment."
Innovation schools will function as in-district, charter-like public schools. In the Pathways school, students will enroll in college-level courses at MWCC. Credits earned will apply toward their high school diploma requirements as well as toward an associate degree or certificate to prepare them for the workforce or for transfer toward a bachelor's degree at a public or private college or university.
Because students will be enrolled through Mahar Regional High School with school choice funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, they are earning the college credits for free, and paying just the cost of books and supplies. For students who are classified as low-income, textbooks and supplies will be covered through the Mahar district. "We want to ensure that students who will truly benefit from the Pathways school will not miss out on this opportunity because of a financial obstacle," said Mahar Superintendent Michael Baldassarre.
During the year-round program, which will include summer courses and winter intersession courses, students will receive individualized academic and career support, participate in internships and other employment opportunities to develop strong professional skills, and have access to all MWCC facilities and services.
Garo Papazian, an advisor and instructor in MWCC's Division of Access and Transition since 2008, will serve as director of the new school. Papazian previously worked for 10 years in the Fitchburg Public School System as director of the Fitchburg Alternative High School, assistant principal at Crocker Elementary School, and assistant principal at Fitchburg High School.
"The Pathways high school is an exciting opportunity for young people who are ready to take on the academic rigors of college life and are prepared to integrate their high school and college experiences socially, intellectually and academically," Papazian said.
This fall, the Pathways school will begin serving a cohort of 20 Grade 11 students and each subsequent fall, 20 new Grade 11 students will enroll, reaching a total maximum enrollment of 40 students per year. To be eligible, students must reside in a Massachusetts school district, be at least 16 years old and entering Grade 11 by the start of the fall semester, be recommended by the sending school district, and complete the program application. Students who have not passed the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test will be scheduled to take the appropriate test at MWCC.
Information sessions for prospective students and their parents or guardians will take place at MWCC's Gardner Campus, 444 Green Street, on the following dates: Tuesday, July 27 at 1 p.m., Wednesday, July 28 at 6 p.m., and  Thursday, July 29 at 10 a.m., in room 125; and in room 202 on Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 1 p.m.,  Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 12 at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 18 at 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m., and Tuesday, Aug. 24 at 1 p.m.
Registration is recommended. For more information or to register for an information session, call (978) 630-9248. For more information about Innovations Schools, including the Mahar/MWCC partnership, click here: NPR July 23, 2010

Theatre at the Mount Nominated for DASH Awards

Mulan JrThe Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theatres (EMACT) recently announced the nominees for the 2009 - 2010 "DASH" Awards (Distinguished Achievement and Special Honors). Of the 100-plus productions entered in the competition, Theatre at the Mount received nominations in 12 categories, including:  

 Forbidden Broadway - Best Music Direction: Joanne Landry; Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Joyce Baldwin; Best Choreography: Alison Laverdiere; and Best Ensemble Performance in a Musical;
Mulan, Jr. - Best Youth Actor/Actress: Audrey Clark; Best Costume Design for a Musical: Gail Steele; Best Hair and Costume Design: Gail Steel;
Peter Pan - Best Actress in a Musical: Trish Aponte; Best Choreography: Chris Casello; Best Set Design: Jeff Boisseau; Best Set Dressing: Tom Simahk; Best Stage Management: Gail Allen.
Award winners will be announced at the DASH Awards Gala on Saturday, Aug. 28 at Cary Hall in Lexington Centre. A complete list of the nominees and ticket information to the event can be found at
Pictured: A scene from Theatre at the Mount's April 2010 production of Mulan, Jr.

Upcoming Events

MWCC invites prospective students to "Kick Off Your Education" by attending an upcoming open house. The open houses will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Leominster campus; Wednesday, Aug. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Devens campus and Thursday, Aug. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Gardner campus. The events will provide resources about the enrollment process, filling out the FAFSA, taking placement tests and registering for classes. In addition, information will be available on degree and certificate programs, training opportunities for the unemployed, online learning, the new GI bill, health science careers, English as a Second Language programs, and more. Placement testing, by appointment, will begin at 3 p.m. at all three sessions. For additional information, contact the Enrollment Center at (978) 630-9284 or
The Sixth Annual Summer Leadership Camp, sponsored by the office of Student Life, will take place Aug. 12 and 13 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. As part-of the popular event, new MWCC students will participate in a variety of interactive workshops and activities, and volunteer on service projects, including a backpack and school supplies drive to benefit local elementary school children in need. The collection, held in collaboration with MWCC's Center for Democracy & Humanity, will run through Aug. 12. Donations may be brought to the Student Services office, room 141. For more information, call (978) 630-9252.
Theatre at the Mount presents the Broadway sensation, "The Wedding Singer."  It's 1985 New Jersey - hair is big, collars are up and the radio is on! This musical comedy follows the story of jilted wedding singer Robbie Hart who agrees to help waitress Julia Sullivan plan her wedding, until complications arise as Robbie discovers his true feelings for her. The musical, adapted to the stage from the highly successful 1998 romantic comedy film starting Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, pokes nostalgic fun at the decade's quirky fads and foibles. Performances will take place Aug. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for evening performances and $15 for matinees. For tickets, contact the box office at (978) 632-2403 or go online at
MWCC, in association with the Broadcasting and Electronic Media program and Phi Theta Kappa, is pleased to once again offer Commencement DVDs. This professional quality, edited DVD of MWCC's 2010 graduation ceremony will be available at a cost of $15 each. This low cost includes shipping and handling. Half of the profits from the DVD sales will go to MWCC's Phi Delta Chapter of the PTK Honor Society. PTK students will donate the other 50 percent of the profits directly to the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center's food pantry. To order a DVD, contact Sheila Murphy, PTK advisor, at
MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing: July 27 and 28 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 2 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Devens campus; Clinical Laboratory Science: Aug. 25, 3 to 4:30 p.m., HealthAlliance Hospital, Leominster; Dental Hygiene: Aug. 12, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, Wetmore wing, room W11; Energy Management: Aug. 19, 3 to 4 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 201; Practical Nursing Certificate: Aug. 3 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, Wetmore wing, room W11. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday through Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. Prospective students interested in the Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing program are asked to call Tami Morin at (978) 630-9578, (TTY (978) 632-4916), or email Prospective students interested in all other information sessions are asked to call the Enrollment Center at (978) 630-9284 (TTY (978) 632-4916), or send an email to
Archived issues of Mount Wachusett Community College e-News can be found online at To submit to the MWCC e-News or request coverage for your event, contact the Public Relations Office at (978) 630-9547. 
Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College
(978) 630-9547