North Central Massachusetts One of Seven Regions Selected to Increase Access to High-Quality Credentials for Adults of Color
The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is one of seven organizations selected by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) to participate in the ACCE’s Equitable Credential Attainment Cohort program, an 18-month program to help strengthen chamber of commerce partnerships with community colleges and community organizations to increase the number of adult learners of color who earn an industry-relevant credential or degree. The ACCE Foundation (ACCEF) and American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) identified a virtual cohort of teams from seven cities or regions across the U.S., with each team comprised of a chamber, a community college partner and an organization that directly represents minority communities.
The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will team up with Mount Wachusett Community College and the Spanish American Center. Together, the team will identify and break down the barriers for adult learners of color to significantly increase the number of those completing high-quality, relevant short-term credentials and degrees in the region.
As one of six other regions across the U.S. selected for the program, the North Central Massachusetts team will attend monthly, virtual meetings to learn from national subject matter experts, obtain customized technical assistance, and engage in peer-to-peer learning activities to create a strategy for longer-term collaboration to build momentum after the grant period ends.
“This is a great opportunity for our region to contribute to the national dialogue related to upskilling and the resources that are being reallocated to fund short-term credentials,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President and CEO, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “By teaming up with Mount Wachusett Community College and the Spanish American Center, we will identify how best to support our region’s adult learners of color by utilizing the knowledge and best practices proven in other areas across the country to ensure success of the program to help us make an impact for those who live in North Central Massachusetts.”
“Mount Wachusett Community College has a strong and long-standing partnership with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce as well as the Spanish American Center,” said Jim Vander Hooven, President, Mount Wachusett Community College. “We are fortunate to have such an engaged and forward-thinking Chamber in our region. We look forward to contributing to the success of the Equitable Credential Attainment cohort program and to ensuring the workforce and economic health of our region,” added Vander Hooven.
“The Spanish America Center is continuously assessing the needs of our community and adjusting the services we provide in order to best meet these needs, one of which is supporting the career aspirations for those we serve,” said Neddy Latimer, Executive Director, Spanish American Center. “By partnering with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and Mount Wachusett Community College, we will be able to enhance our commitment of advancing the community by ensuring that all those who seek an industry-relevant credential or degree will have the opportunity to do so.”
To support the development of these partnerships, and to increase the number of workers with in-demand credentials and degrees, Lumina Foundation has provided a grant to jumpstart progress.
“We are grateful for Lumina Foundation’s continued support for the catalytic leadership chambers of commerce provide in the communities they serve,” said ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “Strong cross-sector partnerships are crucial to addressing workforce challenges, building resilient local economies and creating opportunities for everyone to thrive.”
The other communities participating in the program include Aurora, Illinois; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Cleveland, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Fargo, North Dakota; and Tallahassee, Florida.