The Berkshire Community College (BCC) Foundation has received a $5,000 grant contribution from United Personnel, a company that provides clients with staffing solutions in a variety of industries and fields, for the institution’s Project Reach program.
BCC’s Project Reach program instructs students with intellectual disabilities. The grant, in honor of United Personnel’s 30th Anniversary, is being used to purchase iPads for classroom use as well as a College Transition (BCC 101) course for Project Reach students, which is being offered to the students tuition free as a result of the grant.
“For thirty years United Personnel has been working to support the staffing needs in our region and the career goals of our candidates. An important part of our mission is a commitment to our community through volunteer service and philanthropic support. Our company is proud to share BCC’s focus on education and workforce development and training. We are very pleased to support Project Reach with this grant,” noted Donna DiGennaro, United Personnel’s staffing services manager in Pittsfield.
Nine students are currently enrolled in Project Reach. The program is designed to help students gain employability skills as well as “soft” skills – such as teamwork, decision making, and communication – necessary to become effective employees.
BCC 101 is a required student success course for all BCC students who place in remedial level classes. Project Reach is using BCC 101 to determine the future academic and support needs when students enroll in other college courses, pending an award of an Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Grant from the state Executive Office of Education. The $20,000 grant aims to support more college and workforce development opportunities for students ages 18 to 22 with intellectual disabilities.
Pamela Farron, BCC’s coordinator of Disability Services, said “United Personnel’s contribution is benefitting Project Reach students by giving them an opportunity to experience the rigor and expectations of a college course. The curriculum is not modified; instead, it is made accessible by utilizing multiple means of engagement, representation and assessment. The whole experience has been an eye-opener for all involved. It’s amazing what our Project Reach students can accomplish with the right supports and resources. We thank United Personnel for their generous support.”