Sept. 27, 2011

In This Issue
Massachusetts Community Colleges Awarded $20 Million U.S. DOL Grant for Workforce Training
GM Foundation Invests in Future of Auto Technology Through New Partnership with MWCC
No Pinnacle Too High for MWCC's New Student Trustee
MWCC Remembers 9/11 Through Reflection & Community Service
MWCC Recognized as a Top School for Veterans
Atlantic Union College Students Welcomed into MWCC's Nursing Program
What Makes the Green Street Cafe So Green?
Upcoming Events
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TopMassachusetts Community Colleges Awarded $20 Million U.S. DOL Grant for Workforce Training

Massachusetts' 15 community colleges have been awarded a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for workforce training in high-growth sectors of the economy. The grant, funded through the U.S. Department of Labor in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, will create collaborative statewide change in the delivery system of high quality education and training programs for workers eligible under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA).


The Community College Consortium, working in partnership with agencies including the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Executive Office of Education, applied for federal funding in April to implement new and innovative workforce training programs while also expanding existing programs for several targeted industries - Life Sciences & Biotechnology, Information Technology, Health Care, Advanced Manufacturing, Financial Services & Entrepreneurship and Clean Energy - all of which are high-need and high-growth industries in Massachusetts.


This capacity-building proposal, "Massachusetts Community College and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda," will assist industries in need of technically skilled employees and prepare workers to attain degrees, certificates, and industry recognized credentials that will help prepare them for high wage, high skill employment in an accelerated manner.The funding is part of $500 million announced on Sept. 26 to community colleges nationwide.


In announcing the grant, Senator John Kerry and members of the Congressional delegation emphasized the significance of developing a state-wide jobs training program through the community colleges. 

"This is a huge investment in Massachusetts' workers and our community colleges. This will be a big boost to our state's competiveness and will help workers connect with the jobs they need," Senator Kerry said.


"The Obama Administration and our Congressional partners have delivered for Massachusetts again," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I look forward to working with each of these community colleges and their partner organizations to deliver high-quality education and training programs that will connect our residents to meaningful work."

"The community colleges are the cornerstone of workforce development, and always have been. This grant is all about training people for good jobs and advancing the economy in Massachusetts," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "We will be structuring courses in a way to deliver flexible and relevant education and training, and we will be partnering with the other community colleges and industry to benefit all of the residents of Massachusetts," he said.


"It is a new delivery model for a new era and will go a long way to make a significant difference in the lives of the individuals who need the training and education to get ahead in these challenging economic times", said William Hart, executive director, Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office.

GM Foundation Invests in Future of Auto Technology Through New Partnership with MWCC
GM FoundationGeneral Motors Foundation visited MWCC on Sept. 20 to announce a $25,000 donation to help fund automotive technology programs at the college, with the goal of training the next generation of auto service technicians in Massachusetts. Representatives from General Motors joined MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino, students, faculty, and several area legislators for the announcement, including State Senator Stephen M. Brewer, State Senator Jennifer Flanagan, and State Represenatives Dennis A. Rosa, Stephen L. DiNatale and Richard Bastien.

"This $25,000 donation will help ensure the Automotive Technology program is giving our students the access they need to the proper resources," said Dr. Daniel M. Asquino, president of MWCC. "With access to the most up-to-date repair tools and information, students in our program are able to acquire the skills they need to maintain and repair vehicles as the next generation of automotive technicians in this region."

"Education is an important part of the GM Foundation's work," said GM Foundation President Vivian Pickard. "There is a great need in the automotive industry for trained service technicians at auto dealerships and independent repair shops."  Pickard continued, "Through this donation, we are proud to invest in the future of the repair industry and cultivate workforce talent by investing in the next generation of auto repair technicians."

Many potential students who want to pursue an education in the automotive service technician field are unable to afford the costs of training programs. The donation will help build GM's ASEP program at MWCC. Upon graduation, students receive an associate degree in Automotive Technology.

To help offset training costs, ACDelco, a leader in automotive replacement parts offering aftermarket products and related services, will provide MWCC students with a full year's access to its automotive service information.

"Through complete access to our service, students will be able to gain access to the most comprehensive and up-to-date vehicle service information," said Carlos Aponte, ACDelco's Regional Service Training Manager.

This donation will support the need in the automotive industry for trained service technicians, particularly given the growing complexity of advanced technology vehicles.

Pictured: MWCC students join President Daniel M. Asquino, area legislators and GM representatives for the announcement of $25,000 toward the college's automotive technology program. Officials attending the announcement included: Steve Betz, GM Customer Care & Aftersales Director of the Northeast Region; state Senators Stephen M. Brewer and Jennifer Flanagan, state Representatives Dennis A. Rosa, Richard Bastien,and Stephen L. DiNatale; and Carolyn Markey of the GM Foundation.

No Pinnacle Too High for MWCC's New Student Trustee

MWCC Student Trustee Caroline HorvitzIf you ask Mount Wachusett Community College student Caroline Horvitz whether she thinks she is an inspiration to others, you will get a resounding "No" in response. While faculty, fellow students and others would beg to differ, the 23-year-old student leader believes she is merely going about her own business not unlike everyone else.


These days, her business includes serving as the new Student Trustee on MWCC's Board of Trustees. Ms. Horvitz, a Fitchburg resident and Liberal Arts & Sciences major, was sworn in to the one-year position in August, following an election among her peers last spring. She was encouraged to seek the position by former Student Trustee Christina Lajoie, who graduated in May. Ms. Horvitz also serves as treasurer of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, is a member of MWCC's Honors Program, and served last year on the Student Government Association.


Born with cerebral palsy and deafness during a difficult delivery that claimed the life of her twin sister, Ms. Horvitz attended the Beverly School for the Deaf as a child and was homeschooled throughout her middle and high school education. She is fluent in five sign languages, including exact English, British, French, Greek and conversational American, has studied Latin, and knows a bit of conversational Arabic.


In a recent interview conducted with the assistance of her translator, Cheryl Lauricella, an MWCC alumna, Ms. Horvitz explained her interest in student life, academic plans for the future, and the sunny disposition and characteristic wit that have endeared her to so many since enrolling a year ago.


"There are two kinds of people in the world," Ms. Horvitz remarked. "The first kind is the rarer kind of person, who is going to take the one extra minute to understand that I am an intelligent person who quite frankly is worth having a conversation with. And then there is the other person who rubs my arm or head and says "Helloooooo!" and treats me as if I am three no matter what anyone says," she said.


"I take a wide variety of classes, and like any good student, I spend a lot of the time in the Academic Support Center and the honors center, as well as the cafeteria getting to know my fellow students. I make myself very accessible. I want to make sure that the students can talk to me, and they do. I feel that I am a good voice for the students, and I feel I can represent them very well on the board. I've seen a lot of students who don't know that they have a voice in the school; that many things can be changed; that many of the things that they vent about can be fixed. It gives me a lot of pride and motivation to bring their voices to the board."


The cost of textbooks and supplemental materials is an example of student concerns that she plans to address during her tenure on the board.


Ms. Horvitz is keenly interested in medieval history, Latin and archival studies. After she graduates in May 2012 with an associate degree, she plans to transfer and continue on for a bachelor's degree.


"Mount Wachusett is a fantastic school," she said. "The Honors Program here is absolutely fantastic. It has helped to guide my path in picking the schools I want to apply to. Many of these high-tiered schools are looking for students from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Honors Program, which MWCC is certified in, and that is something to be proud of. The Academic Support Center here is excellent, for example for those of us who do not consider statistics to be our best friend," she quipped. "And the faculty here is just amazing."


As for herself, Ms. Horvitz feels she has no barriers, hardships or obstacles at MWCC or in general that interfere with her life.


"I don't really have any hardships. I was blessed to be in a family that treated me the exact same way as everyone else. There is nothing I cannot overcome." A few years ago, while touring the ruins of Pompeii, someone remarked that she could not get to the top. "I got to the top of Pompeii, and then I had to translate the Latin for someone else," she recalled with a smile.


"No matter how bad you think it can get, make sure to dedicate your life to helping someone else," she said. "There's always somebody out there who is worse off than you."


MWCC Remembers 9/11 Through Reflection & Community Service

Patriot Riders at 9-11 Memorial
Through silent reflection and acts of service, the MWCC community honored those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


The college, together with members of its student Veterans Group and Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, hosted a Remember to Remember Memorial on Sunday, Sept. 11. Many members of the college and greater community, including approximately 30 members of the Patriot Riders motorcycle club, attended and placed flowers at the base of the college's flagpole in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 victims.


The memorial, created by local artist and poet James Pelletier of Winchendon, is a recorded reading of the names of the victims of the terrorist attack against the United States, with the names read by actress Betsy Palmer; actor Jerry Orbach; Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at The Pentagon; Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANY&NJ) Public Affairs Officer Alan Hicks; and volunteers at the New York Unit of the Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (NY-RFB&D) organization.
In particular, the college community honored Carrie Progen, a 1995 alumna who worked as an administrative assistant in the World Trade Center. A Sept. 8 fundraiser organized by the office of Student Life raised nearly $900 for the Carrie Progen Scholarship, which is presented in her memory to an art student during the annual Evening of Excellence celebration each May. An exhibit of Carrie's artwork will remain on display in the glass cases in the East Wing Gallery throughout the month of September.

9/11 Day of Service & RemembranceIn addition, a group of volunteers from the college spent the day painting at Gardner High School and at the Helen Mae Sauter School as part of the national 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. Members of the AmeriCorps Job Ready Project worked with officials at both schools to coordinate the project, and were joined by student volunteers from MWCC's English as a Second Language Club and Theatre Club. "The children are the future, so it's important to give back to them especially," said volunteer and AmeriCorps member Tyler Sweeney.

Pictured, top: Members of the Patriot Riders paid tribute during the Remember to Remember 9/11 Memorial. Below: A group of volunteers from the college, including members of the AmeriCorps Job Ready Project, the ESL Club and the Theatre Club, participated in the national 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.


MWCC Recognized as a Top School for Veterans 

Military Friendly Schools LogoFor the second consecutive year, Mount Wachusett Community College has been awarded a spot on the list of Top Military Schools by G.I. Jobs. The 2012 list recognizes the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that demonstrate outstanding services for student veterans. MWCC's new Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success and other services for student veterans have helped MWCC secure a spot on the list.


"Mount Wachusett Community College has a long history of serving veterans, and we're delighted to be recognized for our commitment to those who courageously serve our country," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "Over the past year, we've enhanced our services through our new Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, which is helping veteran students transition to college life and receive ongoing support."


The new center, established in January through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, is among the first in the county selected to serve as a national model and has become a staple in the lives of student veterans at MWCC. Support services address the unique academic, financial, social and physical needs to veterans transitioning to college life. From the initial point of contact at MWCC, veterans receive personalized assistance, said Kristine Larkin, assistant director of the center. "As these men and women transition from service to college, they seek an environment that is veteran-friendly," she explained. The Center of Excellence is a place where student veterans can receive support and services, but it is also a place that is bringing "like-minded men and women together to support each other."


MWCC has "created a culture of positive energy and enthusiasm for its military students," who not only live and work in the surrounding communities, but also for those veterans who reside at the Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center, located on land donated by the college, the G.I. Job report notes. As a commitment to continuing a strong relationship with veteran students, the college has developed a First Year Experience course designed specifically for veterans transitioning to college life. MWCC is also a designated Yellow Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Many of the students are active in the veterans club on campus.


The 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide. The 1,518 colleges, universities and trade schools on this year's list prioritize the recruitment of students with military experience. These schools are making the grade by offering scholarships and discounts, veterans' clubs, full-time staff, military credit and other services to those who served. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country. For the first time this year, the process also incorporated a survey of student veterans.


MWCC was also noted for providing additional support to veterans through convenient course offerings, including day, evening, online and hybrid courses. For more information about academic opportunities for veterans, contact the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success at 978-630-9409.


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Atlantic Union College Students Welcomed into MWCC's Nursing Program 

Nursing students at MWCCDue to a recent turn of events, associate degree nursing students from Atlantic Union College are now proud nursing students at MWCC.

When news broke that AUC was closing this past summer, the students, who had already completed a year of study at the Lancaster college, were unsure about the fate of their education. However, MWCC stepped in to accept the group of 31 into its nursing program.

The Massachusetts Board of Nursing has commended MWCC for accommodating these students. Eileen Costello, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Community Service Programs, said that the students are being taught by MWCC faculty as well as AUC faculty hired as adjunct instructors. The clinical agreements previously arranged through AUC also remained in place, she said.


The AUC cohort is thrilled to be at MWCC. Many feared they would have to apply at different colleges and begin anew. "MWCC saved the day" stated Fiona Mwangi of Cambridge. The students are greatly relieved to be able to finish their degree over the next year and "are very grateful to come as a group," Mwangi said.  

Many students, such as Kelly McNamara of Leominster, are happy to be back at MWCC having taken their pre-requisite courses at MWCC before transferring to AUC. Families, who provide crucial support to students as they progress through the rigorous demands of the nursing program, are also happy with the easy transition from AUC to MWCC. Ed Bouché of Rutland said his daughter, Sarah, was "jumping up and down, doing cartwheels and yelling 'whoopee' over the way things turned out at MWCC."

The AUC cohort is primarily attending courses on the Devens campus; however they will be reunited with the entire 2012 nursing class for the traditional pinning ceremony and graduation.


"It's nice to not only be a part of the program, but the college as well," Sarah Bouché said. "MWCC just opened their arms for us." She is now looking forward to taking part in the college's pinning ceremony in May as part of the largest nursing class in MWCC's history. 


- Angela Marini 


Pictured: Thirty one new MWCC nursing students in the Atlantic Union College cohort recently presented on a variety of research topics at the Gardner campus as a service component of their pediatrics class. From left, Fiona Mwangi, Farrah D'Haiti, Juline Pierre, Sarah Bouché, Maria Pinto-Gilberto and Lizabeth Munevar.


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What Makes the Green Street Cafe So Green?

Green Street Cafe's Lynne FrancioseWhat makes the Green Street Café so green? From the coffee we drink to the vegetables in the soup, Dining Services Manager Lynne Franciose has made some progressive choices that place the Green Street Café at the forefront of environmentally responsible food service.


Read about how your meals help support local farmers, a high school recycling program, an organic kitchen garden run by MWCC students, and fair trade products by visiting Green on Green Street at


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Upcoming Events

The Student Life Fall Film Series will continue with showings of Real Women Have Curves on Oct. 3; Temple Grandin on Oct. 5 and Prayers for Bobby on Oct. 11. All screenings begin at 12:30 p.m. in the North Café.


MWCC's annual Transfer Fair, sponsored by the Advising & Counseling Center, will take place Thursday, Oct. 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the South Cafeteria. Representatives from more than 40 four-year colleges and universities will be available to discuss transfer opportunities with MWCC students.


BeehiveTheatre at the Mount will present BEEHIVE the 60'S MUSICAL. Break out your go-go boots for Beehive, a musical journey through the 1960's beginning with the tall and sticky beehive and ending in the long flowing hair of the Age of Aquarius. Relive music's golden era and an empowering time in history with The Name Game, The Beat Goes On, Respect, Natural Woman, My Boyfriend's Back, One Fine Day, To Sir With Love, It's My Party, Proud Mary, Downtown and many more!Starring: Shani Farrell, Alyson Foisy, Melissa Gates, Cindy Holt, Katharine Taylor and Chelsea Young. Oct. 7, 8, 14, 15 at 8 p.m. andOct 16 at 2 p.m. Evening admission is $20, matinee admission is $15. For tickets, contact the TAM box office at (978) 632-2403 or online at


MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: A.S. Nursing at Gardner Campus: Oct. 12, 2 to 3 p.m., room 204; A.S. Nursing & Practical Nursing Certificate at Leominster campus: Oct. 13, 5 to 6 p.m., Leominster Campus, Lab 3; Practical Nursing Certificate at Gardner Campus: Oct. 18, 2 to 3 p.m., room 204; Clinical Laboratory Science: Oct. 17, 4 to 5 p.m., Health Alliance Leominster; Complementary Health/Physical Therapist Assistant: Oct. 13, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204; Dental Hygiene: Oct. 19, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204. Prospective students interested in attending an information session are asked to call the Admissions Office at 978-630-9110 (TTY 978-632-4916), or send an email to  


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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