Community Colleges Awarded $25,000 Workforce Development Grant
The Community Colleges of New Hampshire Foundation was recently awarded a $25,000 Workforce Development/Education grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. The grant will be used to support and increase access to eStart, a partnership between the Community College System of NH (CCSNH) and the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) in Exeter, NH, that enables high school students to take courses online for concurrent high school and college credit. The grant will also be also be used to host Discovery Days at the colleges, targeting high schools currently under-served by the programs.
eStart was created in 2009 by CCSNH and VLACS and offers online courses, taught by college faculty, to NH high school students for dual credit. eStart broadens learning opportunities for students, who can access college level courses, for high school and college credit, that may not be available locally giving students a jump start on their college education.
Discovery Days introduce high school students to college life. The high school students spend a day at one of the seven community colleges where they meet with key college personnel and students.
Both programs prepare students for college, stimulate career exploration, and equip students with skills needed to enter the workforce. CCSNH, VLACS, and the local school districts work together to build new and innovative pathways to educational access. eStart is an example of CCSNH’s commitment to empowering all New Hampshire students with the training needed for post-secondary and career success.
Chancellor Ross Gittell recognized Bank of America, saying: “We are very grateful to Bank of America for choosing to focus its resources on this innovative educational program that benefits New Hampshire students and their families. New Hampshire’s community colleges are committed to supporting an efficient and cost effective transition from high school to college and providing students with the quality post-secondary education that is needed for career success. Bank of America recognizes that by removing access barriers and helping students transition successfully into post-secondary education, we are investing in our future workforce.”
“Supporting nonprofit organizations that connect people to jobs and skills is part of our efforts to help improve the financial lives of individuals and customers in the communities we serve,” said Ken Sheldon, New Hampshire President of Bank of America. “A trained workforce ensures we remain competitive in an increasingly complex and competitive global economy and strengthens the economic health of New Hampshire’s communities.”
The grant will be used in high schools in all areas of the State served by the Community College System of New Hampshire, which includes Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth; Lakes Region Community College in Laconia; Manchester Community College; Nashua Community College; NHTI -- Concord's Community College; River Valley Community College in Claremont and Keene; and White Mountains Community College in Berlin.
Photo: Ken Sheldon, Bank of America NH President; Dr. Ross Gittell, Chancellor of the Community College System of NH; Claudette Mahar, Chairperson of the Community Colleges of NH Foundation; and M.J. Driscoll, Bank of America NH Vice-President.