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MWCC Named an Anchor School in Prison-ed Group

September 19, 2018

GARDNER -- Mount Wachusett Community College has been named one of four anchor institutions for a new education consortium that will be headed up by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and funded by a $250,000 grant from the Vera Institute of Justice along with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“We are excited to be a part of this new consortium,” MWCC President James Vander Hooven said. “MWCC staff have been hard at work in correctional facilities teaching credit-bearing classes to incarcerated students. We are eager to share our teaching experience within the prison system and work with all the partners within the consortium.”

MWCC recently graduated its first class through the Second Chance Pell pilot program while working with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. A group of 22 inmates of MCI-Shirley received their Small Business Management certificate in June as part of that national pilot program designed to provide education as a means of reducing recidivism and easing the transition out of prison. MWCC is one of 65 colleges and universities participating in the Second Chance Pell pilot program.

Also, MWCC operates classes in conjunction with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. These courses are designed to give students an edge as they re-enter the workforce after incarceration by offering occupational training with a direct relationship to the needs in the region. MWCC has been working with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office since 2015.

MWCC is one of four anchor institutions in this new consortium, with the others being Boston University, MIT and Tufts University. The consortium, led by a team within the MIT Experimental Study Group, will be tasked with expanding access to postsecondary education by establishing and sustaining an education pipeline at each of Massachusetts’ prisons.

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