A $1.5 million grant has been awarded to the Passaic County Community College to implement a program that will accelerate the transfer of students underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to four-year colleges, announced congressman Bill Pascrell.
The $1,499,919 grant from the National Science Foundation will assist 900 students to transition to four-year institutions, according to the announcement.
“This funding will help prepare students from our area not only to get jobs, but to become leaders in STEM fields projected to have significant economic growth in the coming years,” Pascrell said. “As students prepare to enter a difficult job market, this federal grant will help provide them the advanced training they need to fill technical positions that may have otherwise been left vacant.”
The college will serve as the lead institution in a five college umbrella outfit called the Northern New Jersey Bridges to the Baccalaureate Alliance. The alliance includes, Bergen Community College, Hudson County Community College, Middlesex County College, and Union County College.
The alliance will work with the Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) to increase the flow of students underrepresented in the STEM fields to four-year colleges in New Jersey. 900 students will be transitioned into baccalaureate STEM degree programs in participating LSAMP colleges like Rutgers and William Paterson universities.
“This grant from the National Science Foundation will enable more students to successfully transition to Baccalaureate programs in the sciences,” said Steven Rose, the college’s president. “Even during these times of high unemployment, many positions go unfilled because of the lack of qualified candidates.”
By transferring underrepresented groups into STEM fields the foundation is hoping to build a more diverse and more globally competitive workforce. The foundation was founded in 1950 foster the sciences in the U.S.
“Through Congressman Pascrell’s support, more students will receive the necessary preparation to fill the positions that will ensure strong economic prosperity in the region,” Rose said. The college was also recognized by the White House today as one of the 14 community colleges in the county with a commitment to help academically underprepared students succeed in higher education.
The college has committed to reduce the need for excessive developmental courses by developing better curricula, altering its placement and assessment practices to more accurately identify students’ needs, and improving delivery and relevancy of instruction. The college will also implement strategies to provide better academic support to students.
Efforts will include reducing the need for excess developmental courses through better curricular alignment; redesigning assessment and placement to more accurately identify students’ academic needs; and improving design and delivery to accelerate student progress, ensure the relevancy of instruction, and provide better student supports.
“I share PCCC’s enthusiastic belief in the basic principle that education is the key to a more secure and prosperous future for us all,” Pascrell said.