The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Mount Wachusett Community College and the Spanish American Center to break down barriers for adult learners of color and increase the number of those who earn high-quality degrees and diplomas, relevant and short-term in the Region.
The North Central Chamber is one of seven organizations selected by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) to participate in ACCE’s Equitable Credential Attainment Cohort, which is an 18-month program aimed at building the chamber of commerce with the community. colleges and community organizations to increase the number of adult learners of color earning an industry-relevant credential or degree.
The ACCE Foundation (ACCEF) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) have identified a virtual cohort of teams from seven cities or regions across the United States, with each team consisting of a chamber, partner community college and an organization that directly represents the minority. communities.
“This is a great opportunity for our region to contribute to the national dialogue related to upskilling and resources being reallocated to fund short-term credentials,” said Roy Nascimento, President and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. .
“Teaming up with Mount Wachusett Community College and the Spanish American Center, we will identify how best to support adult learners of color in our region using knowledge and best practices proven in other parts of the country to ensure the success of the program to help us make an impact for those who live in north central Massachusetts,” said Nascimento.
“Mount Wachusett Community College has a strong and long-standing partnership with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce as well as the Spanish American Center,” said James Vander Hooven, president of Mount Wachusett Community College. “We are lucky to have such a committed and forward-thinking chamber in our region. We look forward to contributing to the success of the Equitable Credential Attainment cohort program and ensuring the health of our region’s workforce and economy.
“Spanish America Center continually assesses the needs of our community and adjusts the services we provide to best meet those needs, one of which is to support the career aspirations of those we serve,” said Neddy Latimer. , executive director of the American Spanish Center. “By partnering with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and Mount Wachusett Community College, we can further our commitment to advancing the community by ensuring that anyone seeking an industry-relevant credential or degree will have the possibility to do so. .”
As one of the U.S. regions selected for the program, the North Central Massachusetts team will participate in monthly virtual meetings to learn from national subject matter experts, get one-on-one technical support, and engage in peer-to-peer learning activities to create a longer-term collaborative strategy to build momentum after the grant period ends.
To support the development of these partnerships and increase the number of workers with in-demand credentials and degrees, the Lumina Foundation provided a Jump Start Grant.
“We are grateful for the Lumina Foundation’s continued support of the catalytic chambers of commerce provided leadership in the communities they serve,” said Sheree Anne Kelly, President and CEO of ACCE. “Strong partnerships across sectors are essential to addressing workforce challenges, building resilient local economies and creating opportunities for everyone to thrive.”
Other communities participating in the program include Aurora, Illinois; Chattanooga, TN; Cleveland, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Fargo, North Dakota; and Tallahassee, Florida.