Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

MCC selected to launch financial coaching program  

The National Council for Workforce Education announced that Monroe Community College is one of four schools nationwide to receive up to $138,000 to develop and launch a financial coaching program to improve their students’ financial health and increase their graduation rates.  

The program is expanding nationally from four to nine colleges through a $2.5 million investment from JPMorgan Chase. 

MCC was chosen through a competitive process based on the college’s capacity for innovation, staff knowledge and commitment to student success. Other schools selected for the second year include Renton Technical College in Washington state; Winston-Salem State University, a historically Black college and university in North Carolina, and Columbus State Community College in Ohio.  

“MCC serves students by empowering them, through education and holistic support, to be financially literate and achieve economic security,” said MCC President DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna. “Together with the National Council for Workforce Education and JPMorgan Chase, MCC is removing obstacles to graduation and meaningful careers that pay family-sustaining wages. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to the economic vitality of the community by uplifting the lives of our students.” 

Utilizing a financial coaching program launched by SUNY Westchester Community College in 2014, NCWE will provide MCC with individualized coaching and technical assistance, as well as training, guidance and the support needed to hire staff and assistance in building a successful, sustainable program.  

The NCWE team will assist MCC in developing a long-term business plan to embed financial wellness into its strategic and budget plans, to support the sustainability of the initiative. 

[email protected] / (585) 653-4021

ESL/MCC scholars named 

ESL Federal Credit Union and Monroe Community College have announced their fifth class of ESL/MCC scholars, an earn-and-learn program to prepare students for a career in banking and finance.  

Students were recently welcomed to the ESL team at a scholars’ ceremony at ESL headquarters in downtown Rochester. 

The five students selected for this program are: Ranses Beltre-Romero, Andrew Friden, Emily Goossen, My Phan and Benazir Reza. 

Students are offered a part-time, paid position at one of ESL’s 23 local branches and a $1,000 scholarship for each semester they participate, up to $2,000. Students will have the opportunity to meet with and work in other departments at the company to further their professional experience. 

Benefits to ESL/MCC Scholars also include professional skill development opportunities, mentoring and exposure to a variety of career paths within the banking and finance industry. Through this collaboration, MCC students also have the option to obtain academic credit for their work experience. 

The long-term goal of the program is to retain the students upon graduation from MCC through either full-time employment at ESL, or as they work part-time while pursuing their bachelor’s degrees at a local college or university (with assistance from ESL’s tuition reimbursement program). The program also supports an ESL initiative to recognize and value diversity and inclusion within the workforce. 

“Investing in education is one of the best investments we can make in a lifetime,” said Maureen Wolfe, executive vice president, human resources and community impact, ESL Federal Credit Union and a board member for the MCC Foundation. 

[email protected] / (585) 653-4021 

Burt-Nanna inaugurated as MCC’s sixth president  

DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna was inaugurated as Monroe Community College’s sixth president in a formal ceremony Thursday afternoon reflecting the theme “Transforming Together!” in the Samuel J. Stabins Physical Education Complex on the college’s Brighton Campus.  

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans speaks at the inauguration of DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna as MCC’s sixth president. Seated in the front row from left are Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Burt-Nanna. Seated directly behind the president are members of her family, including her 91-year-old mother, Betty Terrell (far right). (photo courtesy of MCC)

Among the dignitaries who spoke were Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Rochester Mayor Malik Evans. 

Since assuming the MCC presidency in May 2021, Burt-Nanna has dedicated her initial efforts toward ensuring MCC’s mission-centric work focuses on five priorities while setting in motion the development of the college’s new five-year strategic plan.  

She has prioritized efforts that promote equity, education and economic development to create a better Rochester. 

“For six decades, MCC has fulfilled its mission of access for all, maintaining an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Burt-Nanna said. “We will elevate this focus in the years ahead to ensure we leave no one and no ZIP code behind in our commitment to improving the quality of life across our region.”  

In less than a year, Burt-Nanna has formed collaborative partnerships with educators, employers and community leaders to create opportunities through public higher education. 

Among her efforts, are:  

  • Convening an Educational Partners Summit in collaboration with the local academia community toward creating a college-going culture in the region, 
  • Reinforcing MCC’s position as a leader in innovation and excellence through the newly launched Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center, and  
  • Establishing the college’s partnership with Major League Soccer’s Next Pro League to open doors for MCC students and others to pursue internships and gain experience and have access to a professional sports experience. 

She has also worked to align MCC more effectively with area workforce and economic development needs, serving as a New York gubernatorial appointee on the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council’s Executive Committee and co-chairing the council’s Workforce Development Work Group.  

Her leadership has been instrumental in the college’s instituting a $15 per hour minimum wage for employees; the college’s selection to participate in the national Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation initiative aimed at addressing systemic inequities in higher education and the launch of Middle Management Meetings at MCC to promote leadership development and diversity within its community. 

Before assuming the MCC presidency, Burt-Nanna served as vice president of Student and Academic Affairs for South Central College in Minnesota. She has more than two decades of higher education leadership experience, having served in college and university system roles as faculty, department chair, dean, system department coordinator, vice president and senior academic and student affairs officer.  

A native of Muskegon Heights, Michigan, she holds doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees, all from Western Michigan University. 

[email protected] / (585) 653-4021 

Applied Technology Center approved for MCC’s Brighton campus

An Applied Technology Center will be built on the Brighton campus of Monroe Community College (photo courtesy of Monroe County).

Construction of an Applied Technologies Center (ATC) on the Monroe Community College Brighton campus has been approved, meaning students will have enhanced opportunities to train for high-demand, skilled-trades jobs and integrate with other STEM programs.

The Monroe County Legislature on Tuesday night approved $35 million in funding for the building, which will replace what county officials say is an outdated building on West Henrietta Road. The new facility will connect ATC students with the college’s existing science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.

“The four pillars of building Monroe County’s future are public safety, public health, economic/workforce development and infrastructure,” County Executive Adam Bello said in a news release. “The new ATC facility builds on our country’s ongoing efforts to train people for high-demand jobs such as automotive technician, precision tooling, heating, ventilating and air conditioning technician and solar panel technician.”

The new programs are intended to help fill the void in the trades industries, where a shortage of skilled workers continues to grow as the current workforce ages out and fewer workers enter the fields.

“Skilled trades workers are in short supply, our economy needs them and companies are willing to pay good money for them,” Bello said. “This new center will give students practical hands-0n training and help accelerate the availability of workers our economy needs to thrive.”

The legislature gave unanimous approval to the proposal and authorized the county to enter into a contract with the state Dormitory Authority to purchase fixtures and equipment. The State University of New York will reimburse the county for half of all project costs.

“Thanks to Monroe County’s investment in technological innovation, education and training, more Monroe Community College students will have opportunities to learn in simulated, real-world environments and earn industry-recognized credentials in high-demand career fields,” MCC president DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna said. “MCC is grateful for the Monroe County Legislature’s and Monroe County Executive Bello’s support of our shared focus on lifting up residents across all ZIP codes and bolstering
our local economy.”

[email protected]/(585) 653-4020

Work begins on new Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center at downtown MCC campus

(left to right) Allen Williams, Adam Bello, Jim Malatras, DeAnna Burt-Nanna and Robert Duffy. (provided)
(left to right) Allen Williams, Adam Bello, Jim Malatras, DeAnna Burt-Nanna and Robert Duffy. (provided)

Monroe Community College President DeAnna Burt-Nanna was joined Thursday by State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras to announce the start of construction on the $11.4 million Finger Lakes Workforce Development (FWD) Center on MCC’s downtown campus.

The FWD Center will be operated with industry and partnerships with Genesee Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, BOCES, Rochester Institute of Technology and Manufacturing Association, Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc., the state Department of Labor, RochesterWorks! and Monroe County. The state-of-the-art facility will train at least 2,500 students in various in-demand careers in manufacturing and technology. The center is expected to open in early 2022.

Also at Thursday’s announcement were SUNY trustees Robert Duffy and Christy Fogal, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, the regional state legislative delegation and local officials.

“Because of skills gaps, there are critical workforce shortages across our state and SUNY will help fill that growing need. Today’s start of construction of the Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center is a key example of our SUNY for All program — going into communities too often left behind; bringing multiple colleges together under one roof to leverage the individual SUNY campuses’ strength to provide students more opportunities; and connecting students who will be ready for work, with the Department of Labor and public industry partners ready to connect them to in-demand, well-paying jobs,” Malatras said in a statement. “Thanks to the investment from New York state, we can make this a reality and start to fill the 20,000 open jobs in the Finger Lakes region.

“We have to give the community a chance at economic opportunities, and not only provide high-quality education to our students, but set them up for success, which is exactly what will take place at this center. I thank President Burt-Nanna and her campus leadership team, trustees Duffy and Fogal, Monroe County Executive Bello, our state legislative delegation, and all our partners for their advocacy and support of this project,” Malatras added.

The FWD Center has been designed to focus on short-term and accelerated training programs that place individuals in high-demand jobs within advanced manufacturing, information technology, health care, skilled trades apprenticeship and professional services. It will serve as a home to critical training programs for all learners: credit and non-credit-based programs and customized training to meet the needs of an employer.

A recent survey conducted by the state Department of Labor found that 48 percent of New York employers ranked the lack of qualified applicants as their main barriers to hiring.

“As Industry 4.0 changes the way all of us live and do business, it’s critical that employers have access to a workforce that is able to use smart technologies in business environments. The Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center will be home to affordable, high-caliber education and training programs that will be accessible to diverse learners across the region, preparing them for in-demand tech-oriented careers that pay living wages and are less vulnerable to future displacement,” Burt-Nanna said. “With a 60-year track record of putting people back to work, Monroe Community College is excited to be part of a regional effort in developing the next generation of skilled technicians and moving the economy forward.”

The project is budgeted at $11.4 million, with $6 million coming from a SUNY2020 grant and $5.4 million coming from the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

“Today’s announcement is a cause for celebration — SUNY is creating clear education-to-career pathways for our students and helping the economy move forward after all the hardships faced by businesses throughout New York State due to the pandemic,” Duffy said. “The Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center shows what can be accomplished when elected officials, the workforce and higher education all work together to support a common goal. Our students who take courses at the center will receive hands-on learning experiences that will prepare them to enter into a job feeling confident to succeed.”

Undeveloped sections on the fifth and sixth floors of the MCC downtown campus at 321 State St. will be renovated to accommodate the 50,000-square-foot FWD Center. MCC conducted 22 focus groups with more than 80 regional stakeholders and employers to determine the impact of new technologies on Finger Lakes businesses and the skills these employers most need in their workers.

“The Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center will be a great resource for our community as we begin to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. This innovative center will strengthen the regional workforce through training, educating and teaching the necessary skills for careers in technology and advanced manufacturing,” said state Assemblywoman Sarah Clark. “Thank you Chancellor Malatras, President Burt-Nanna and County Executive Bello for this investment in our region and our workforce.”

The FWD Center is strategically designed and will not be fully built out at launch in order to support a variety of programs and allow for quick modification of the space to meet the specific needs of regional employers. Flexible space will be created for labs related to robotics, mechatronics, augmented reality and virtual reality, smart factory/automation and skilled trades, as well as the Career and Education to Employment Services Center. The design will enable the FWD Center to adapt to changing needs in industry.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

New MCC president named

Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna
Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna

A Minnesota college administrator has been named the sixth president of Monroe Community College.

Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna was recommended by the MCC board of trustees and her appointment was confirmed Tuesday by the State University of New York board of trustees. Her appointment is effective Friday, May 21.

Burt-Nanna is vice president of student and academic affairs for South Central College in Faribault and North Mankato, Minn.

She has more than 20 years of experience in higher education, including serving in faculty and administrator roles at community colleges.

Burt-Nanna is a staunch advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, educational access and attainment, philanthropy, and workforce development at local, state and national levels, according to a news release from MCC.

She is an Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow and a 2019 graduate of the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership.

“On behalf of the entire SUNY community, we are pleased to have Dr. Burt-Nanna take the helm of Monroe College Community — a integral part of the greater Rochester area that will be central in training the workforce of today and tomorrow as we begin to turn the page on COVID,” SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said in a news release.

“With her student-centric focus, her advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as her keen business sense from both her academic and industry experience, Dr. Burt-Nanna will bring MCC to new heights. I congratulate her and look forward to a long and productive partnership,” he said.

“I am honored to be selected as MCC’s next president and will work with MCC faculty, staff, and stakeholders to extend MCC’s legacy of educational excellence, innovation, and strong community partnerships,” Burt-Nanna said.

“In Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna, we have found the next champion for MCC students who shares the college’s values and will work with us to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community,” said MCC Board Chair Barbara P. Lovenheim.

Burt-Nanna succeeds Interim President Katherine P. Douglas, who will assist with the leadership transition. Douglas joined the college in February 2020, following the departure of former president Anne M. Kress.

Burt-Nanna holds doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees, all from Western Michigan University.

[email protected] / (585) 232-2035

MCC reschedules graduation to December

Monroe Community College plans to hold its 2020 graduation ceremonies in early December instead of May due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The May 30 commencement has tentatively been rescheduled to Dec. 3. mcc-logo

The decision to delay commencement is heart-wrenching but necessary to ensure the well-being and safety of our students, their families, faculty, staff, and the Greater Rochester community. I fully understand and share our students’ disappointment over the change in plans,” said MCC Interim President Katherine Douglas. “However, our students’ hard work, resilience and achievements at MCC will not go unrecognized. I am committed to seeing our students experience the distinctive tradition of walking across the stage in December and celebrating with them this significant milestone in their lives.”

Douglas made the announcement Thursday afternoon. Approximately 2,000 students are expected to graduate. The ceremony typically takes place in the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.  

Additional details about the graduation, and about end-of-year events that are being moved online will be shared later, the college said. 

[email protected]/ (585) 363-7275

MCC meets fundraising goal, highlights Wegmans and ESL donations

mcc-logoMonroe Community College Foundation’s annual gala event Thursday honored the Wegman family for its philanthropic commitment to MCC, and announced a  pledge of $4 million from the ESL Foundation to help support students.

Danny Wegman, president and chairman of the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation, accepted the MCC Foundation’s 2019 Salute to Excellence Award at the event, held Thursday at the Floreano Convention Center.

According the foundation, the award recognizes the Wegman family’s contributions, including $3 million to help first-year students who face hunger and other barriers to reaching their educational goals. This fall more than 200 MCC students became the first “Wegmans Scholars,” benefiting from food scholarships and coaching to keep them on their academic paths.

The Wegmans gift was part of MCC’s $50 million “Every Bright Future Needs a Strong Foundation” campaign.

The campaign’s co-chairman, Tim Wentworth, also announced the $4 million donation from ESL Charitable Foundation, to launch three programs supporting student success. Over five years, the money will support:

  • Pathway to College, a program of aid for students without a high school diploma who are not eligible for federal college aid.
  • Strong Foundation, a fund for students who exhaust their other financial aid while completing basic courses aimed at getting them ready for college-level classes.
  • Finish Strong, financial aid for students who run out of other aid just before they would complete their program.

“Every student in our community, no matter their age or background, should have pathways available to an affordable, high-quality education that sets them up for career success,” said Faheem Masood, ESL Federal Credit Union president and CEO. “MCC and the MCC Foundation are proven leaders in our community when it comes to making education options available that lead to meaningful employment opportunities for the Greater Rochester population. We are honored and elated to support these vital scholarship programs that will have a significant, positive impact on the students.”

Sergio Esteban, chairman of the MCC Foundation’s board of directors, also announced that the campaign had exceeded its goal by 5 percent in raising $52.5 million.

[email protected]/(585) 363-7275


Diversity a key goal of healthcare education programs in Rochester

Local healthcare education programs make inroads on diversity.

When it comes to diversity in higher education programs for healthcare, two local institutions have made the grade nationally.

Insight into Diversity magazine gives awards each year to the higher education institutions across the country with the best track records for diversity in their professional healthcare programs. While the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing has won this award for some years running, this year the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry won for the first time, and the College at Brockport’s School of Nursing won for the first time, too.

These three programs were among the 43 nationally that won Healthcare Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED for short) awards from the magazine.

(Insights into Diversity also offers a general diversity award for higher education institutions, and Rochester Institute of Technology was one of 96 winners of that award.)

The awards reflect an institutional commitment to diversity that has been building for years or has recently been amplified. In some cases, the programs feature diversity initiatives similar to those at other schools, including some in the Rochester area, but it appears that a cumulative effort put them over the top.

Adrienne Morgan
Adrienne Morgan

UR “has been committed to increasing our diversity pool and our outreach for decades,” said Adrienne Morgan, assistant dean for medical education, diversity and inclusion at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry.

For example, Morgan described a grant program UR participates in that starts recruiting minority and low-income students to science and health majors starting in middle school, with four-week summer intensives.

“That’s where you’re really starting to build your foundation, academically,” Morgan said. “It’s a great entry point for students to begin, hone their skills (and) understand what’s needed to be a researcher, physician, physician assistant (or) nurse practitioner.” While students as young as middle school know about doctors and nurses, they may not be familiar with some of the other professions within healthcare, she said.

It’s important to reach students that young, noted Margaret Kaminsky, dean of STEM and health at Monroe Community College, which also participates in the Science and Technology Entry Program that Morgan described.

“Choices made in middle school are going to determine how far a student can get in math and science through high school,” Kaminsky said. If a student doesn’t take accelerated math at the middle school level, that may prevent them for taking higher math, chemistry and physics later on, all prerequisites to healthcare degree programs.

Morgan recalled one STEP student at UR who shared that the program helped him realize how much he’d have to up his game academically to reach his newly formed goals. He went on to get a science degree in college and a job with NASA. He’s now pursuing a doctorate in a science field outside of medicine.

“Everybody who does the program isn’t necessarily going to enter the medical field,” Morgan said. “But everything they learn can be used in other professions as well.”

UR follows up with a research internship program for high school students that includes shadowing emergency room professionals, group journaling exercises, work in anatomy labs and other opportunities.

“We try to make them understand the steps they’ll need” to purse a degree in healthcare, Morgan said. “Many students who do the (summer) program end up being our students.”

Three key programs at the College at Brockport that helped the nursing program win diversity kudos:

  • Conducting an annual poverty simulation for students, an exercise in which participants are given a limited amount of income and resources and must use them to obtain basic needs in a prescribed amount of time.
  • Reverse role-playing with deaf actors. Nursing students play the patients who cannot use spoken language to communicate, and deaf actors and sign language interpreters play the caregiving roles. (Similar exercises are conducted at other local schools.)
  • Two-week clinical intensives in Costa Rica and Peru during school vacations, allowing students opportunities to study abroad and experience a different culture that their schedules would normally prevent.
Kathy Peterson
Kathy Peterson

All of these programs help sheltered students learn about different perspectives. Of the clinics abroad, Kathy Peterson, chairwoman of the nursing department at Brockport, said, “It really has changed more of their outlook on life, and what we have. It’s been life changing for many of them, and for our faculty.”

Students participating in the role-playing exercise really begin to empathize with the Rochester area’s deaf population, she said, and the poverty simulation teaches them how much hard work it takes to live in poverty.

Brockport, UR and MCC all described a somewhat diverse population of students, with an increasing number of male students entering nursing programs over the last couple of decades. Morgan said UR’s medical school and even nursing school generations ago used to attract mostly well-to-do students

“People are coming from all walks of life now to medicine,” Morgan said. “It’s not like it’s the family business anymore.”

Peterson said Brockport has always attracted more of a middle-class student body, but when she started teaching there 35 years ago, the freshman nursing class typically would have been comprised of 60 white female students.  Today’s class of pre-licensure nursing students at Brockport is about 14.6 percent minority and 16.2 percent male.

MCC’s Kaminsky didn’t have similar figures at her fingertips, but she noted that for some years when she taught basic chemistry, a prerequisite for healthcare majors, about half the students were minorities.

Keeping a diverse student body in school long enough to graduate can be a challenge because of income differences or other barriers.

“We have found — and this is national — that we do lose a higher proportion of our diverse students than our white students,” Peterson said. “We are actively looking at that and trying to support those diverse students with more engagement and more assistance.”

MCC participates in another grant program that provides funding for special programs for diverse healthcare students such as mentoring. It even offers small grants that can help them with expenses that could be roadblocks to their success. Kaminsky said she has approved grants for the $800 textbook that radiology technology students need and even for as little as $10 for printing so a student could print out course materials.

The growing number of healthcare students who are not white and female might find their gender or ethnicity presents an issue for patients.

Philip Phommala, a nursing student at MCC who is Laotian-American, said he hasn’t experienced racial discrimination, but he has been asked to switch out with a female nursing student when working with some patients. It’s usually the patient’s family members, rather than the patient themselves, that makes the request, he said.

“I try not to take it too hard. I do expect to have that happen from time to time,” Phommala said.

A men’s league for male nursing students at MCC provides a place for him to talk over issues like that.

Kaminsky, who has only been the dean over healthcare programs at MCC since August, said she has observed instructors tell students these issues are likely to come up in the context of sensitive issues, such as changing a catheter, and students should be prepared for it, and include a second nurse in the room.

And Peterson has heard reports — albeit rare — including a male cancer patient who didn’t want to be cared for by a male nursing student because he assumed male nurses would be homosexual. Yet she also heard a report from the maternity unit where both mother and father wore confederate flag clothing yet didn’t raise an issue with a black student nurse or black nursing instructor who attended them.

UR includes discussions about patient push-back in its classes, Morgan said, as such events can take a toll on students and professionals in the field, causing what she called “moral distress” over time. They practice coming up with responses to such patient requests, she said.

“Depending on who you are, it can happen on a daily basis,” Morgan said.  Whether hospitals should comply, and in what circumstances, with patient’s objections to being treated by healthcare professionals of different demographics is part of an ongoing national discussion, she said.

[email protected]/ (585) 363-7275


Four local winners in state tourism and hospitality awards

The NY State Hospitality & Tourism Association has announced its 2019 awards, and four of them will go to Rochester-area people and entities.

Don Jeffries
Don Jeffries

The awards will be presented at the association’s Stars of the Industry gala Nov. 4 at the Rivers Casino-The Landing Hotel, in Schenectady.

Local winners are:

  • Don Jeffries, President & CEO of Visit Rochester, for Outstanding Tourism Executive of the Year.
  • Janet Zinck, professor at Monroe Community College, for Outstanding Tourism Educator of the Year.
  • Tom Cote, Bell Captain at the Woodcliff Hotel & Spa for Outstanding Bellperson of the Year.
  • The Avon Inn, owned and managed by Jim and Jennifer Krause, for Bed & Breakfast/Inn of Distinction.

“All the winners of this year’s awards are STARS in every sense of the word and shining examples of what New York State hospitality and tourism is all about,” said association President Mark Dorr.

The full list of winners is online at the association’s website.

[email protected]/ (585) 363-7275

MatchUp Monroe aims to help college students set down roots here

For years, people in Rochester have lamented the “brain drain,” meaning the trend of young people leaving Rochester as soon as they finish college.

Now there’s an app to fight that.

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo announced on Monday that the county has created a program to link college students in the Rochester area with summer internships at local businesses. The paid internships will come with free housing, transportation, and cultural programs curated to help persuade the students to set down roots in Monroe County.

Job postings and applications for the new MatchUP Monroe program will be found on Handshake, a job-seeking app for recent college graduates.

“MatchUP Monroe is custom designed to link students from our world-class colleges and universities with rewarding internships at some of our community’s most exciting local employers,” Dinolfo said. “Together, we will ‘MatchUP’ our best and brightest students and employers to build a brighter future for all of us.”

Work on the program began in January, Dinolfo said, and will launch for the summer of 2020. The county has partnered with six local colleges to recruit students, and a variety of  companies and cultural institutions.

“Incentive programs like Match Up Monroe provide our students with the opportunity to learn more about the great jobs and rewarding career opportunities that this region has to offer,” said Ian Mortimer, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Rochester Institute of Technology. The other colleges partnering with the program include University of Rochester, Nazareth College, St. John Fisher College, Roberts Wesleyan College and Monroe Community College.

Once students apply to the program, they will be screened by a panel of participating companies and may be interviewed  by individual companies. Some of those companies planning to host interns so far include CloudChekr, Datto, 29 Design Studio, LeFrois Builders & Developers, Unither, eLogic, UR and Innovative Solutions. Additional companies can still apply to participate on the program’s website.

Housing in RIT’s Global Village will be provided for the duration of the internships, which will last eight to 10 weeks. Free bus passes will be provided to help students reach their jobs.

Dinolfo and some of the participants unveiled MatchUP  Monroe at Innovative Solutions Monday.

Justin Copie, CEO of Innovative Solutions, said, “We are so excited to partner with Cheryl and her team to help solve one of the biggest problems in our community — retention. Through this program, we’re excited to usher students into our business so they can begin to develop relationships within the community, and learn what makes this community so great. It is our responsibility to nurture the amazing talent in this community, if we’re to grow this community.”

The cultural component of the program involves coordinating visits to attractions in the county, sharing the off-hours life of Monroe County with students. Institutions including VisitRochester, Geva Theatre Center, the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival, Seneca Park Zoo and others have signed on to help with that.

“Monroe County is home to world-class arts and cultural institutions, nationally-recognized museums, a fantastic parks and recreation system and a fabulous food scene,” said Don Jeffries, president and CEO of VisitRochester.

Imagine Monroe, the county’s economic development agency, will cover costs of housing, transportation and some other expenses, while county planning and economic development staff support the program.

Students and companies that would like to participate in the program can learn more at

[email protected]/(585) 363-7275

RTS to offer MCC students free rides with new program

rgrtabusRochester’s Regional Transit Service will provide a new program for Monroe Community College students beginning in the fall semester.

RTS will offer a new Universal Pass (U-Pass) program to remove a barrier for MCC students, including those living on campus, who struggle to find transportation to campus, internships, jobs, volunteer opportunities and doctor’s appointments. The U-Pass allows students to easily and safely travel anywhere RTS fixed-route bus transportation is provided in Monroe County.

“Having access to safe, reliable and convenient public transportation can make it easier for students to succeed in and out of the classroom,” RTS CEO Bill Carpenter said in a news release. “I thank President (Anne) Kress and MCC for embracing public transit as a component of student success and for partnering with RTS to launch the first program of its kind in Monroe County.”

Under the program, full- and part-time MCC students can ride RTS free with their MCC identification during the academic year. Students swipe their MCC ID card on any route at any time and the ride is free.

“We are pleased to partner with RTS on a program that provides thousands of students, including the nearly 800 who live on campus, with unlimited access to RTS services, connecting them to the college as well as to resources throughout the community,” Kress said. “Providing students with greater access, convenience and mobility removes barriers that may keep them from taking classes, pursuing internships and work opportunities off campus, and getting involved in civic service.”

Kress said the U-Pass fills a significant transportation need and will enhance students’ collegiate experience.

A spring 2018 survey of more than 200 MCC residence hall students showed that limited access to transportation was a barrier to accessing off-campus food sources, employment, health care and other opportunities.

MCC is the first college in the Finger Lakes region to join the U-Pass program, officials said, noting that RTS plans to have similar partnerships with other colleges in the region.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Mold-making program honors first female apprentice

Niayah Blair is the first female to complete the Monroe Manufactures Jobs Mold-Making Program. (Photo provided)
Niayah Blair is the first female to complete the Monroe Manufactures Jobs Mold-Making Program. (Photo provided)

The first female to complete the Monroe Manufactures Jobs Mold-Making Program was honored this week at a ceremony that touted her as likely the only female mold-maker apprentice statewide.

Niayah Blair graduated from Monroe Community College in 2017 and has spent the last year participating in the apprentice program through ROMOLD Inc. The Monroe Manufactures Jobs program connects graduates of local institutions like MCC with local manufacturing companies by providing both the employer and employee a $1,500 bonus. The company must be headquartered in Monroe County and retain the employee for a full year.

“Manufacturing supports over 55,000 local jobs, yet in today’s growing economy there’s one thing I hear over and over again: local manufacturers have good-paying jobs open, but they need help finding employees with the right skills to get the jobs done,” Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said. “That’s where our workforce development programs like Monroe Manufactures Jobs come in.”

ROMOLD was established in 1997 by Lou Romano. The company manufactures plastic injection molds, die cast molds and related components. The manufacturer has an 11,500-square-foot facility in Gates.

“Monroe County is to be applauded for the support and recognition of local manufacturing,” Romano said. “The Monroe Manufactures Jobs program has all participants playing vital roles. The apprentice must work and accumulate academic requirements, the sponsoring company provides on-the-job training and mentorship, Monroe Community College provides vital curriculum and Monroe County provides the support and incentive to stay the course.”

Added Blair: “I am very proud of my work so far as an apprentice mold maker with ROMOLD and I am especially proud to show other women that achieving a career in manufacturing is possible. It was encouraging to know that upon graduating from MCC I had a job waiting for me.”

ROMOLD has the longest active mold-maker apprentice program with the Department of Labor in New York State, officials noted.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Google provides fast track to IT jobs with MCC program

Google is pairing up with community colleges, including Monroe Community College, to offer a new certificate program that will train people with no experience to work in information technology support in as little as eight months.

A total of 25 community colleges in six states will offer the new IT Support Professional Certificate course, taught by JFF, a national nonprofit workforce development organization. The program attempts to create a path for people to enter a high-tech field with a median wage of $52,000 a year without obtaining a college degree.

“The Google IT Support Professional Certificate is a great addition to the IT programs within the college and will provide students a new opportunity to gain the technical skill-sets necessary to enter the IT sector,” said Todd Oldham, vice president, economic and workforce development and career technical education at Monroe Community College.

Since Google launched the program on the Coursera learning platform in January, approximately 40,000 learners have enrolled in the online training program and 10,000 have received financial aid.  MCC will offer the course starting in the fall for the 2018-19 school year.

“Google is committed to training the workforce of today and tomorrow, and we are thrilled to team up with community colleges to help graduates jump-start a new career in IT Support,” said Jesse Haines, director of Grow with Google, an economic development arm of the company. “Community colleges play an important role in helping Americans get ahead, and they will be strong partners in Grow with Google’s mission to create more economic opportunities for Americans.”

According to Google, there are 150,000 open IT support positions and a majority doesn’t require a college degree, though experience is necessary. Upon completing the training, students can register their information with up to 22 companies that have agreed to consider graduates, including Google, Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital and PNC Bank.

MCC expects to start enrollment in about two weeks. For more information about enrollment, prospective students may contact  MCC’s Charles Caples at (585) 685-6227 or [email protected].

[email protected]/(585) 363-7275

GM gives truck to MCC for student technicians

MCC and GM representatives gather by the lastest vehicle GM has given to the MCC automotive program
MCC and GM representatives gather by the latest vehicle GM has given to the MCC automotive program.

General Motors dealers today donated the latest in a long line of vehicles to Monroe Community College for automotive students to use as they train to become GM-certified automobile repair technicians.

The donation of 2017 GMC Sierra Denali diesel truck was unveiled Friday morning at MCC’s Applied Technologies Center on West Henrietta Road. The center houses the GM Automotive Service Educational Program.

“Apprenticeship programs like ASEP have long been the foundation of the American workforce and continue to be instrumental in preparing individuals for the jobs of the future,” said Mike Zafonte, regional training manager for GM’s Northeast region. “Our support of students and the program is vital to our long-term business success. We look forward to growing our relationship with MCC.”

“This program provides students with the highest quality automotive education possible,” said Greg Stahl, owner of Bob Johnson Chevrolet. “When Bob Johnson Chevrolet sponsors a student, we know we are getting the best of the best to work on our customers’ vehicles.”

Some 230 students have graduated from the program, with 100 percent of them placed in jobs. Since the program began in 1985, GM has donated 51 vehicles and other equipment.

“With GM’s partnership, our students gain skills linked to industry standards, so they can contribute in the workplace at the highest levels from day one,” said MCC President Anne M. Kress.

[email protected]/(585) 363-7275