PCCC to serve lead role in program to accelerate the transfer of students historically underrepresented in STEM fields
PATERSON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) announced that a $1,499,919 National Science Foundation grant has been awarded to Passaic County Community College (PCCC) to fund a program that will accelerate the transfer of students historically underrepresented in academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). PCCC was also recognized separately today by the White House as one of 14 community colleges making new commitments to strengthen efforts around college readiness.
“This funding will help prepare students from our area not only to get jobs, but to become leaders in STEM fields projected to have significant economic growth in the coming years,” said Pascrell, a former educator who now serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and House Budget Committee. “As students prepare to enter a difficult job market, this federal grant will help provide them the advanced training they need to fill technical positions that may have otherwise been left vacant. I share PCCC’s enthusiastic belief in the basic principle that education is the key to a more secure and prosperous future for us all.”
PCCC will serve as the lead institution of the Northern New Jersey Bridges to the Baccalaureate (NNJ-B2B) Alliance, a partnership of five, public, associate-degree granting, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in northern New Jersey, including Bergen Community College, Hudson County Community College, Middlesex County College, and Union County College. NNJ-B2B will work synergistically with the Garden State LSAMP (GS-LSAMP) Program to increase the number of students underrepresented in STEM who successfully transfer from the five partner community colleges to STEM programs at four-year institutions in New Jersey.
“This grant from the National Science Foundation will enable more students to successfully transition to Baccalaureate programs in the sciences,” said PCCC President Dr. Steven M. Rose. “Even during these times of high unemployment, many positions go unfilled because of the lack of qualified candidates. Through Congressman Pascrell’s support, more students will receive the necessary preparation to fill the positions that will ensure strong economic prosperity in the region.”
By assisting more than 900 students from underrepresented populations transition into baccalaureate STEM degree programs at institutions in the GS-LSAMP, the partner colleges in NNJ-B2B will provide their students with access to more employment opportunities, thereby resulting in a more diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce.
PCCC was also recognized by the White House today as one of 14 community colleges in the nation in making commitments to implement strategies to help improve college persistence and completion for students who enter college academically underprepared. Efforts will include reducing the need for excess developmental courses through better curricular alignment; redesigning assessment and placement to more accurately identify students’ academic needs; and improving design and delivery to accelerate student progress, ensure the relevancy of instruction, and provide better student supports.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…" With an annual budget of $7.2 billion (FY 2014), NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.