LOWELL – Students looking to build their careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math could have more opportunities to do so at Middlesex Community College.
The local college announced last week that it’s set to receive a grant of $112,966 from The Boston Foundation. According to MCC, this grant is one of four worth a total of $426,656 being distributed to Massachusetts community colleges from the foundation. The grant is meant to expand and strengthen the state’s internship offerings for students in STEM programs while attending college.
Rebecca Newell, MCC’s associate dean of student affairs, said the grant will be used to implement the Northeast Regional Internship program at the university, which is meant to help develop new work-based learning opportunities for students. With the grant, MCC will hire a program coordinator who will work with the university’s Career Development team to cultivate new industry partnerships, conduct an examination of regional STEM employers to better understand their needs and expectations, and make intentional efforts to set the stage for an expansion of the program to other nearby community colleges.
“We have been given the gift of time to dig deep into research with our industry partners in order to best design an intentional program that will open pathways for our underserved students,” Newell added in a statement. “We aim to work closely with employers and our colleagues at neighboring community colleges to support the growth of an inclusive culture of experiential learning and build upon a diverse talent pipeline for the Northeast region.”
Bunker Hill, Massasoit and North Shore community colleges received the other three grants from the Boston Foundation. The three other colleges plan to use their grants to further support STEM-related internships and connections to businesses.
According to the Boston Foundation in 2019, a large majority of paid internships in the state were awarded to four-year college students, limiting opportunities for community college students to get necessary career experience and income to support themselves during their studies.
“While these programs take different approaches, they highlight a number of critical elements: they recognize the importance of paid internships, the need for adequate staff and student supports, the necessity of true employer partnerships, and an intentional focus on equity,” Paul Grogan, president and CEO of the Boston Foundation, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with each of these programs as we charter an effort to build a stronger network of equitable, accessible internship programs across the system.”