The Mesa Counts on College partnership between the City of Mesa, Mesa Community College (MCC) and Mesa Public Schools (MPS) recently announced a new GED to MCC program designed to increase the college completion rate in the East Valley.
“The primary focus of Mesa Counts on College is to increase post-secondary attainment, which in turn supports workforce and economic development in Mesa. MCC and Mesa Public Schools (MPS) have worked more closely than ever before on integrating our resources and efforts to expand access to higher education and increase college completion,” Mesa Counts on College Board Chair and Mesa Community College President Dr. Shouan Pan said.
The GED to MCC pilot program will provide individuals between the ages of 16 and 26 who are working to complete a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) an opportunity to advance their education.
The GED to MCC is an innovative program targeted to community college bound learners. Students accepted to participate in the GED to MCC program will work toward the completion of a GED certificate and take an introductory community college success course that will help prepare them for a college education.
Dr. Michael Cowan, Superintendent of Mesa Public Schools, stated “GED to college is one more option for students who want to further their education. A trade certificate or college degree is good for the student.” He added, “Research tells us workers make more money with more education. It also helps our community. Having a skilled workforce attracts more businesses with higher- paying jobs.”
The GED to MCC program is open to motivated individuals with a desire to attend Mesa Community College and finish an associate’s degree. There are certain eligibility criteria individuals must meet: must be able to read at an eighth-grade level (determined at time of application); must have the ability and willingness to attend class 12 hours weekly; and must be legally present in the U.S. and able to provide documentation to qualify for the free program. Adults interested in earning a GED that do not meet these criteria may participate in traditional GED preparation programs through Mesa Public Schools, Mesa Community College or other institutions.
During the GED to MCC program, individualized GED instruction will occur in a cohort class setting. Lessons will be taught by certified teachers and through computer-based training. The traditional GED preparation coursework will be enhanced with students receiving information on tutoring services, academic and career counseling, and financial planning assistance. Workshops will be conducted by the Mesa Community Outreach Center at the MCC Downtown Center.
Students will be required to attend classes three hours each day, four days each week. The program will begin January 22 and run until May 17, 2013. Participants will enroll in the College success course AAA150-AA and upon tuition payment could earn one college credit.
For those interested in learning more, informational workshops will be held in December and January. These workshops will explain the program in detail and potential applicants can take a placement test before submitting an application.
Application packets and instructions will be available at the Mesa Education Center (855 W. 8th Ave.) after December 1. The deadline to submit application materials, including the application, letter of recommendation and personal statement is January 14, 2013.
Mesa Counts on College has contracted with Jobs For The Future (JFF) to assist with the GED to Mesa pilot. JFF is a national leader supporting the development of Back on Track through College pathways, which enable youth to not only achieve a high school credential, but also transition smoothly into post-secondary education and career credentials.
JFF will conduct a three day site visit later this month and will assist MCC and MPS with developing scheduling, curricula and course sequencing that supports student achievement and engagement. Through peer-learning networks, best practices and information can be exchanged. In addition, JFF will help to implement performance measurement systems to ensure students successfully progress from the GED to credit-bearing post-secondary pathways.
Barbara Jordan, Mesa Counts on College Organizational Lead for MCC, stated “With the help of JFF, we hope to design and implement a replicable program that will change many young people's lives for the better. The lessons learned from this pilot program will lead to the continued delivery of highly effective GED to college programs for increasing numbers of students in Mesa.”
About Mesa Community College
Mesa Community College provides outstanding transfer and career and technical programs, workforce development, and life-long learning opportunities to residents of the East Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. MCC excels in teaching, learning and empowering its more than 40,000 students to succeed in a local and global community. Mesa Community College is one of ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District.
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