The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced that a select group of Massachusetts state universities and community colleges have been awarded a total of $1.25 million through the Department of Higher Education’s “Performance Incentive Fund” to drive innovation throughout the public higher education system.
“Exposing high school students to college-level material and allowing them to earn credit for their work is a worthy investment in both our students and future workforce,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Performance Incentive Fund grants will help our public higher education system continue its important development of highly skilled and educated workers.”
The five colleges and universities that have been awarded are Bridgewater State University, Bunker Hill Community College, Mount Wachusett Community College, Westfield State University, and Worcester State University. All of the campuses plan to use the funds to improve innovation and college readiness, as well as the college-going rates of students typically under-represented in higher education, including African American and Latino students, low-income students, and those who will be the first in their family to attend college.
“These grants support the broader workforce development efforts of the Baker-Polito administration,” said James Peyser, Secretary of Education. “The programs they make possible constitute important elements in our strategy to offer high quality career pathways to our young adults and give them a solid foundation for college and career success.”
“These programs are among the smartest educational investments we can make,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos E. Santiago. “Every indicator demonstrates that exposure to college helps high school students build the self-confidence and the skills they need to succeed at the post-secondary level. I was very pleased to see a high degree of creativity imbedded in the campus proposals, which will strengthen the pathways from high school to college.”
Bridgewater State will team with Massasoit Community College and the Brockton Public Schools to create a 100 Males to College program for Brockton teens who will benefit from the opportunity to take college-level courses and engage in family outreach activities. A separate but similar 100 Males to College program will be launched in Central Massachusetts, where Worcester State will work with Quinsigamond Community College and the Worcester Public Schools to bring college-level courses and post-secondary success strategies to male students at area high schools.
Mount Wachusett Community College will adapt science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs for students from Fitchburg and Leominster who are non-STEM majors.