SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) was recently awarded state grants to enhance a nursing partnership with Westfield State University and to start a STEM Tech Career Academy for high-school students at West Springfield High School and Veritas Prep Charter School.
The Workforce Skills Cabinet — an alignment of state executive offices — awarded STCC a two-year, $600,000 Nursing Pathways Grant. The state funding will help STCC and Westfield State further develop synergies and clarify student pathways for their respective programs. Nursing students can obtain their associate degree in nursing from STCC and continue virtually, or on the STCC campus, as they pursue their bachelor’s degree from Westfield State. As a result of the grant, STCC students will see a reduction in time and cost to achieve their BSN from Westfield State.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Workforce Skills Cabinet,” said Lisa Fugiel, director of Nursing at STCC. “With this support, we can strengthen our tutoring and access services and career navigation to improve student retention.”
The Workforce Skills Cabinet also awarded a three-year, $1 million grant to start a STEM Tech Career Academy. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The $5 million announced in December for five new STEM Tech Career Academies across the state included one that partners STCC with West Springfield High School and Veritas Prep Charter School. The STEM Tech Career Academy focuses on healthcare, environmental and life sciences, and business and finance.
The partnership will leverage existing innovation pathways and includes Baystate Eye Care Group, Each Moment We’re Alive, Walgreens, and Springfield Thunderbirds Hockey Club as industry partners. The STEM Tech Career Academy grant will help expand early college programs specifically for STEM courses and will help students explore STEM career pathways.
STCC offers an innovation-pathway program for West Springfield High School students in their junior year. STCC’s work with Veritas includes students as early as ninth grade with the possibility of earning 60 college credits.
The STEM Tech Career Academy will provide work-based learning opportunities with paid internships and capstone projects to students, said Pamela Westmoreland, director of Early College Initiatives at STCC. The goal is to increase the number of students who earn associate degrees or certificates.
“This grant will help high-school students start early on their college pathway and save time and money,” Westmoreland noted. “They can earn college credits in the STEM Tech Career Academy and, after getting their high-school diploma, continue their education at STCC, which is the most affordable college in Springfield.”