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WORCESTER & SOUTHBRIDGE— The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has awarded Quinsigamond Community College’s Future Focus program an Adult Education Transition to Community College Grant. The $450,000 grant is divided into three yearly allotments of $150,000 and is the maximum amount awarded.

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

“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. Future Focus students are also English as a Second Language (ESOL/ESL) participants, who already have their high school diploma, as well as 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 has a rotation of students, made up of 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),” said QCC Future Focus Coordinator, Gilmarie Vongphakdy, adding that there are 30 students participating for the Spring 2020 semester.

QCC Future Focus students come from all areas in the community, and 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 QCC’s Future Focus program, https://www.qcc.edu/services/future-focus-program

For more information on QCC, contact Josh Martin, Director of Institutional Communications at 508.854.7513 or jmartin@qcc.mass.

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