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Our Voices: Randy Anderson, Addict in Recovery

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Randy-anderson-storyTo Recovery and Beyond

The day Randy Anderson was sentenced to more than 87 months in federal prison was the worst day of his life.

At one point in his life, Randy was using and dealing cocaine daily. That lifestyle caught up with him one day in 2004 when he came home to find himself surrounded by police vehicles and officers with guns drawn.

To avoid any lengthy jail time, Randy volunteered to enter a drug treatment program. After completing the program at the Minneapolis drug treatment facility RS Eden, he was arrested on drug charges again. It was Randy’s second stay at the RS Eden that sent the message that would change his life.

“One of the counselors told me I was being stubborn,” he said. ”That was my turning point.”
His counselor challenged Randy to enter sobriety and, not one to turn down a challenge, he obliged. He’s been sober since Jan. 10, 2005. However, despite his recent sobriety, Randy still needed to account for his past actions. He was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison.

The day Randy drove himself to prison was the scariest day of his life.

“My heart fell out of my chest,” he said. “I was devastated by an outcome that was so much worse than I ever could have imagined.”

Randy was able to reduce his sentence to 54 months with good behavior. After his release and once he acquired a steady job, his newlywed wife encouraged him to look at postsecondary education.

“I decided to go for it, but at the age of 43, I was scared to death of going back to school,” he said.

His first day of class at MCTC was the second scariest day of his life. He remembers turning around in his car to go back home twice, and telling himself he couldn’t do it.

When he finally arrived at the College, he found the atmosphere inviting. Within moments of his arrival, Randy was approached by a fellow student who offered him directions. Randy realized involvement would be his key to success as an adult student coming back to college, and shortly thereafter he connected with Student Life and the Addiction Counseling Club.

“If you don’t become involved with Student Life, you’re missing out,” he said. “It made my educational experience as a middle-aged man really fun.”

Diving into MCTC’s renowned Addiction Counseling program, Randy found his niche. Drawing on a lifetime of connecting and building rapport with new acquaintances, Randy used his involvement and connections jump start his education and work toward a future career as an addiction counselor.

“In any client-focused career, you have to find a way to connect with someone on a personal level,” said Randy. “As an outgoing person and someone with experience going through addiction counseling, my goal is to connect with the people who went through what I went through.”

Before he graduates from his program in December, Randy will spend the summer interning at RS Eden—the very place that turned his life around. He already knows he’s on the right track, too. “I was offered to stay on as a counselor after my internship,” he said. “I’m starting my future right out of the gates.

MCTC and Augsburg Announce Auggie Plan

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments
MCTC and Augsburg alum David Johnson, Augsburg Dean of Arts and Sciences Amy Gort, MCTC Vice President of Academic Affairs Gail O'Kane

MCTC and Augsburg alum David Johnson, Augsburg Dean of Arts and Sciences Amy Gort, MCTC Vice President of Academic Affairs Gail O’Kane

Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) and Augsburg College announced on May 29 the Auggie Plan—a guaranteed transfer opportunity for qualifying students who complete their first two years at MCTC. A launch event was held at MCTC with education Commissioners Brenda CasselliusLarry Pogemiller, and several other higher education and K-12 administrators, leaders and partners.

Following a defined pathway, eligible students can earn a two-year associate’s degree from MCTC and seamlessly transfer to Augsburg College to finish their bachelor’s degree. Through the Auggie Plan, students who complete 60 credits at MCTC with a 2.75 GPA or better are guaranteed admission to Augsburg College. They may also be eligible for merit scholarships based on previous college coursework.

Because students on the Auggie Plan enter Augsburg at the junior level, many will qualify for scholarships—making it possible to earn a four-year private college degree with needs-based grants, manageable student loans, and no out-of pocket costs for tuition.

“We are pleased to partner with Augsburg College on an affordable pathway that allows our students to transfer easily to a four-year college to earn their bachelor’s degree,” said MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa. “Many of our students are drawn to Augsburg’s excellent liberal arts tradition. This partnership makes that dream more accessible. Augsburg has been a great partner in providing nursing education. It is a great pleasure to extend our partnership to more of our students.”

“We recognize that intellectually talented students of ability come from all walks of life,” said Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow. “Every higher education institution must heed the call to educate students of ability. It is through this call that our colleges and universities can secure economic prosperity not only for students, but for our state and nation. We are honored to collaborate with MCTC to support students in their journey of vocational discernment and pursuit of careers.”

Coverage of the event was also published by Minnesota Public Radio.

About Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Minneapolis Community and Technical College is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and offers students more than 120 liberal arts, career and technical programs designed to prepare them for good jobs in high-demand professions or transfer to a four‐year college or university. Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, MCTC enrolls around 12,000 students annually in credit and non-credit programs.

About Augsburg College
Augsburg College is set in a vibrant neighborhood at the heart of the Twin Cities, and offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to more than 3,500 students of diverse backgrounds. Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. The Augsburg experience is supported by an engaged community committed to intentional diversity in its life and work. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

MCTC Receives Accolades from MN Women’s Press

Posted on: June 2nd, 2015 by insidemctc 1 Comment

In the May edition of the Minnesota Women’s Press, the publication’s annual What Women Want issue paid homage to several of MCTC’s initiatives which have gone beyond the status quo in providing women access to education:

  • Favorite summer camps for kids (MCTC Career Exploration Camps)
  • Honorable mention: Favorite place to continue your career education
  • Honorable mention: Favorite leadership development/opportunity to increase personal power

MCTC is honored to receive recognition from the Minnesota Women’s Press, and has been recognized in previous years for being a great place for women to get a trade education (2010).

College Visited by U.S. Sec. of Labor Thomas E. Perez

Posted on: May 28th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Secretary PerezMinneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) was honored to host U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez this week for a roundtable discussion with some of the Twin Cities leaders in business, education and technical careers in light of a nationwide push for tuition relief programs for community colleges.

During the event, co-hosted by Scholarship America with discussion moderation by their CEO Lauren Segal, Secretary Perez was joined by Congressman Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, former mayor R.T. Rybak, Sen. Terri Bonoff, Rep. Frank Hornstein and other business and community leaders for an hour-long roundtable held at MCTC. Speakers discussed the need for community and technical college tuition relief in line with President Barack Obama’s proposed America’s College Promise. “The President’s ‘America’s College Promise’ is about making higher education accessible to everyone,” said Secretary Perez. “Our discussion today is about a movement. We want to create a movement to make sure this is a nation in which everybody gets the education they need for their job, whether it’s a job as a CNC machinist at Graco or a job in IT.”

The Secretary’s visit comes at the closure of the Minnesota legislative session, in which a proposal to fund a state-level tuition relief program for community and technical colleges passed with $100 million in biennium funding. Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, the Minnesota legislator who introduced the legislation, shared his inspiration for the proposal with roundtable attendees. “Minnesotans love education,” he said. “Education is the tool with which we’ve been able to keep the state’s economy going.”

MCTC and partners Saint Paul College and Metropolitan State University lead the way in statewide tuition relief programs, boasting several programs including one of the state’s first Power of YOU programs offering free tuition to qualifying first-generation high school students, a partnership with Hennepin County, and the fledgling Destination Diploma to Degree (D3) program. “We’re looking at career pathways from high school to postsecondary institutions,” said Sarah Caruso, president and CEO of the Greater Twin Cities United Way.

“Partnerships like D3 incorporate an understanding of the depth and complexity young people face as they consider college.” The D3 program places qualifying students from alternative high schools in relevant college classes, and recently received support from the United Way to grow its program beyond its initial launch.

“We are making college relevant for high schoolers,” said Pam Costain, president and CEO of AchieveMpls. “Minnesota is a national leader in youth employment and internships, making college relevant for high schoolers. I’m intrigued by the movement-building approach of the Secretary. It would require all of us in the room to collaborate with each other.”

“I think we’re making a mistake by assuming grade 12 is an end point,” said MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa. “We should shift our mindset so that instead of K-12, P-14 is the base level of education we expect. If we don’t prepare young people to step into jobs, we’ll all suffer.”

See photos from the roundtable and press conference on Flickr. Coverage of Sec. Perez’s visit was also published in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Downtown Journal.

Photo: Congressman Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez

Our Voices: Thulani Jwacu, Advising for Success

Posted on: May 27th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Thulani-storySeeing Students Through to Success

“It’s not enough to give students access to college,” said Thulani Jwacu, Power of YOU advisor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. “We want to see them graduate, and that takes a lot of support and individual attention.”

When Thulani started working at the MCTC Library in 2005, he was a fresh graduate from Metro State University, and received a crash course in offering student support. “I saw first-hand what an MCTC student’s academic experience is like,” he said. He found himself tutoring, orienting students to technology and mentoring work study students. “I had an opportunity to work with students to go beyond what they were learning in the classroom.”

The experience was inspiring. “I became interested in how we teach students to succeed outside the classroom. It’s more than just being present; students need help developing broader skills.”

Thulani has taken those lessons and experiences with him. Last year he transitioned into his current role as a Power of YOU advisor, and works one-on-one with recent high school graduates who are the first in their families to go to college. “What attracted me to Power of YOU is the curriculum,” he said. “It’s intended to help students become scholars—to turn them from high school students to successful scholars who transition from MCTC to a four-year college or a job.”

The Power of YOU curriculum is dependent on passion like Thulani’s. The program—almost 10 years old and one of the first in the state of Minnesota—offers free tuition to qualifying students and centers on academic support as a key to student success. Students meet one-on-one with advisors to plan their courses, make sure they meet deadlines and maintain a manageable workload. “The support makes it possible for a lot of high school students, who wouldn’t have previously thought of attending college, to become success stories,” said Thulani. “We’re giving access and support to many students in our immediate community.”

The Power of YOU enrolled around 250 students in the 2014–2015 school year, and the program continues to grow. “We’re focused on building relationships with students,” said Thulani. “Knowing that they have someone in their corner to guide them through the intricacies of being a college student is of great comfort.”

Published May 2015