Through the U.S. Department of Education’s Upward Bound (UBMS) grant, two of NVCC’s grant coordinators, Yovany Cruz and Darrion Sprueill attended the third national convening of minority serving community colleges (MSCCs) held on November 14 and 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. The event is an opportunity for faculty and staff from colleges across the country to exchange student success practices, discover federal resources and programs for minority serving institutions and community colleges, and learn about research and student success initiatives that support their work.
NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. noted that, “NVCC and the Bridge to College (BTC) staff are committed to healthy dialogue, engaging practices, and leadership development with colleagues serving low income, first generation, and minority populations. NVCC and BTC staff are committed to being at the forefront of program implementation that improves our communities and helps students persevere through college graduation.”
Conference Topics included:
- Accessing and Using Labor Market Data
- Supporting the Success of Low-Income Students
- Apprenticeship and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Support,
- Credit for Prior Learning
- Career and Guided Pathways
- Connecting Education Programs with Workforce Preparation
- Building Community College Development Capacity
- Connecting High School and Community College Programs
Dave Celotto, Director of the Upward Bound program at NVCC, explained that this trip fulfills the mission of the grant. “As an institution funded through the Department of Education NVCC works to continuously seek professional development opportunities that allow staff to network with professionals serving similar populations of students and to learn best practices that have proven successful throughout communities in this country. If funding allows, Upward Bound staff will participate in professional development seminars that directly relate to their work in our Waterbury high schools.”
The staff that attended the conference will debrief the entire Upward Bound team to connect programmatic activities to proven practices at similar community colleges throughout the nation.
Upward Bound Coordinator, Darrion Sprueill commented that, “The conference was an amazing opportunity to meet other professionals in higher education who service students at community colleges across the country. We were able to connect with representatives as close as Norwalk, Connecticut and as far as Los Angeles, California. Learning about the relevant programs that community colleges are developing to provide support and a sense of belonging was truly impressive.”
As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) since 2015, NVCC joined other representatives from HSI’s to discuss commonalities. Yovany Cruz reported that, “We are proud to work for a community college that is nationally recognized for serving minority students. By sharing best practices that support minority students to persist through college, we help to fulfill NVCC's mission.” The conference recognized the profound impact that community colleges have on individuals, families, communities, and the nation as a whole. Several speakers shared successful, personal anecdotes and cited national data to support the trends. For example, Jovita Carranza, a Latina, and first-generation student who is now employed by the U.S. Department of Treasury said in her own words, "I am tangible evidence of your hard work. I too, earned a degree from a community college and went on to earn my MBA." Cruz reported that the conference was “not only incredibly inspiring, but also it resonated with us as first-generation minority students ourselves. We have a great deal of work ahead of us, and we fully acknowledge that in the midst of our work, we must be prepared to fight a great battle; we are ready. We would like to continue to share ideas whenever and wherever we can. With that in mind, we would love to return to this particular conference again next year.”