MWCC joins MIT, BU in prison education consortium

BY Zachary Comeau

Photo/Grant Welker
Photo/Grant Welker
Mount Wachusett Community College has been awarded a $3.2 million for health care education.

Mount Wachusett Community College is joining the likes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and 12 other Massachusetts colleges in a new prison education consortium.
The program, funded by a three-year, $250,000 grant from the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will seek to education inmates at the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.
Gardner-based MWCC, an anchor institution in the consortium along with MIT, Boston University and Tufts University, will be tasked with expanding access to post-secondary education by establishing and education pipeline at each state prison. 
Other Central Mass. schools participating in the new program include Framingham State University and Clark University in Worcester.
Programming will include a strong foundation in the humanities as well as career and technical training beginning during incarceration. That education will continue once the inmate is released.
MWCC, participating in the Second Chance Pell pilot program, graduated its first class of 22 inmates while working with the state Department of Corrections’ prison in Shirley. Those inmates received their Small Business Management certificate in June.
The college has been working with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office since 2015 to give inmates an edge as they re-enter society by offering occupational training.