PATERSON, NJ – Continuing in his commitment to education, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today announced a federal grant of $4.163 million to Passaic County Community College to improve students' performance and retention in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

 

"This funding will help Passaic County Community College maintain its traditions of academic excellence and preparing students with the knowledge and skills needed to maximize their job opportunities in the future," said Pascrell, a former educator who led a grassroots movement to make sure the college was founded in Paterson.

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"This is not about forcing square pegs into round holes, that is, sending students to college whose potential may be better realized outside of the classroom.  This funding, under the very capable leadership of President Steven Rose, will help Passaic County Community College identify students in our local school districts who have an ability for science and math. The community college will then help those students improve their academic skills. The more we can help our local students succeed, the more they will be able to meet the future workforce demands of New Jersey and the nation."

 

Dr. Steven Rose, president of Passaic County Community College welcome news of the federal funding today.

 

“These federal resources will directly impact on the success rates of students enrolled in our STEM disciplines and on their ability to get the jobs of the future.  This five-year STEM improvement effort is further consistent with the College’s focus on improving program completion rates and its involvement with the Achieving the Dream Network of Community Colleges," said Dr. Rose. "Once again, Congressman Pascrell has demonstrated his extraordinary commitment to education and to the economic well-being of New Jersey residents."

 

Passaic Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Holster, one of the local schools districts that will participate in the program, said that the funding would help provide students access to 21st century methods of teaching and learning.

 

"It will give kids a better sense of opportunity and that, in return, gives them greater motivation," said Dr. Holster. "Our kids have to become believers And when we partner with other agencies, such as Passaic County Community College, they have a better chance of realizing their own potential."

This grant will be in the amount of $743,100.00 for the first budget period of Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30,2012. It is anticipated that the grant will be for a total of five years with a total funding amount of $4.163 million. The funding, which is being administered by the U.S. Department of Education's Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, is aimed at increasing PCCC's students' success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. 

 

To improve student success, the Project will implement three essential components:

 

1) a pre-college outreach component that involves high school, developmental, and ESL students in hands-on collaborative learning activities to better prepare them for postsecondary STEM

education

 

2) a STEM improvement effort on the PCCC campus that engages students in their

STEM learning and provides them with the academic and personal support needed to persist,

especially in that critical first year of study

 

3) an initiative to facilitate student transfer to the university by aligning curriculum in STEM disciplines across the various levels of education, guiding students from high school to the community college to the university.

 

By the end of the five-year period, the Project will increase by 25 percentage points the

fall-to-fall persistence rate of 1st year STEM students and by 20 percentage points the number of

STEM majors that graduate and transfer to a college or university within three years of initial

enrollment. By 2017, the Project will be serving more than 3,000 high school and college

students per year.