Mount Wachusett Community College Awarded Department of Education Talent Search Program Grants

The US Department of Education has selected Mount Wachusett Community College to received funding under the Talent Search Program in two grants totaling $662,926.

Launched in 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search. Along with the Upward Bound Program and Student Support Services, the three services make up the TRIO of federally funded programs aimed at encouraging access to higher education for low-income students.

Talent Search identifies and assists individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education. Talent Search projects provide tutorial services, career exploration, aptitude assessments, counseling, mentoring, financial aid and college application assistance.

The first program, Educational Talent Search, was launched at MWCC in 1990. The grant of $385,551 enables MWCC to serve 695 middle and high school students from Fitchburg, Gardner, and Leominster public schools.

“I am looking forward to building upon the success that Talent Search has had over the past thirty years,” notes Ramon Gonzales, Director of Educational Talent Search.

The second grant program, the North Central Mass. Talent Search (NCMTS) was founded in 2011. NCMTS will use the $277,375 grant to serve 500 middle and high school students from seven public schools located in the communities of Athol, Clinton, Winchendon, Fitchburg, and Royalston, Massachusetts.

“Our Talent Search programs, and their talented staff, provide the critical boost needed for these students to access higher education,” states James Vander Hooven, President of MWCC. “These programs enable us to help students not only see their own potential, but to achieve it.”

The Talent Search programs are designed to prepare students to graduate high school and go on to complete a college degree. Two-thirds of students served under the Talent Search program students are low-income and have the potential to be the first generation in their family to complete college. The program objectives are improved persistence of students to the next grade level, high school graduation, college enrollment and degree completion.

The Talent Search programs are administered by the MWCC Division of Access & Transition, which also manages the colleges Upward Bound Math and Science program, GEAR UP, and Early College programs including Early College Academy, Gateway to College, and Pathways Early College Experience.