(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, announced with U.S. Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) that $1,222,171 is heading to White Mountains Community College (WMCC) and Campus Compact for New Hampshire (CCNH) to support access to post-secondary education for rural students in northern New Hampshire. The grant will support a new project to improve rates of postsecondary enrollment, providing students with education and job training to support college readiness and career mobility.
Senators Hassan and Susan Collins (R-ME) led the bipartisan push in the Senate that Senator Shaheen also joined to fund the Rural Postsecondary and Economic Grant program that WMCC is now receiving. Senators Shaheen and Hassan wrote letters to the U.S. Department of Education to support its application for this funding through the Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development Grant Program.
“Zip code should never determine students’ opportunities and access to higher education, but significant disparities often persist in rural communities. That’s why funding to support post-secondary education and job training for students in rural communities is so critical. I’m thrilled to see this funding heading to WMCC to launch a program to provide tools for college readiness and career mobility for students in northern New Hampshire,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll continue fighting for resources to invest in our workforce and make a real difference in students’ lives.”
“We must ensure that people in rural communities have access to higher education opportunities to help them thrive, which will also help meet the needs of businesses in these communities,” said Senator Hassan. “I’m proud to have helped secure this funding, which will help White Mountains Community College meet the needs of more students and businesses in the North Country.”
“I’m thrilled that White Mountains Community College will receive this funding to develop high-quality, targeted education and career pathways for students in our rural communities,” said Rep. Kuster. “Programs like the one at WMCC help to strengthen our workforce and connect qualified applicants with hiring employers. I look forward to seeing the positive impact of this project on our state and our economy, and I will continue working to expand post-secondary education and job training opportunities here in New Hampshire.”
“Community colleges, including White Mountains Community College, play a vital role in training our workforce and helping families succeed,” said Rep. Pappas. “We must continue to support investments in programs like this to ensure every Granite Stater has access to a quality education that prepares them for the 21st-century economy. I remain committed to supporting New Hampshire’s community college system to spur economic development and pave the way for future prosperity.”
With this grant, WMCC and CCNH will develop career pathways that will align with high-skill, high-wage and in-demand industry sectors and occupations in the region. This student-centered program will utilize evidence-based approaches that increase the likelihood of obtaining a degree and entering the workforce. These strategies include the use of formative data, a focus on social belonging and a leveraging of college partnerships to ensure students are college and career ready.
Senator Shaheen has been a fierce advocate for students, investing in quality education to prepare them for the 21st century economy and working to ensure they don’t fall behind during the pandemic. Shaheen helps lead the Community College to Career Fund in Higher Education Act (CC2C), which would support innovative partnerships between technical colleges, community colleges and businesses that train students for careers in high-demand fields. The bill would also help businesses fill vacant, good-paying positions with qualified candidates. Shaheen also introduced the Supporting STEM Learning Opportunities Act, which would invest in experiential learning opportunities to strengthen the pipeline of students entering the STEM workforce, especially from traditionally underrepresented groups like women and communities of color. Hassan and Shaheen also joined colleagues in reintroducing the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, bipartisan legislation that would help expand access to more job training programs for students and workers who need additional training, or a leg up in their career, by making high-quality, shorter-term education and training programs eligible for federal Pell Grants.
Senator Hassan has led bipartisan efforts in the Senate to invest in workforce development and education programs. The 2022 government funding bill that was recently signed into law included $20 million that Senator Hassan worked to secure to help students at colleges in rural communities meet their education goals and access employment opportunities. Senator Hassan recently heard from Keene State College officials about their new workforce development and upskilling initiative, which is funded in part through the state and local funding in the American Rescue Plan that Senators Shaheen and Hassan worked to pass into law.