Morgan Community College received $2.9 million in grant funding from the United States Department of Education through the Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHSI) program (Grant Award #P031S230272). The grant funding started October 1, 2023, and will run through September 30, 2028. The grant program, referred to as MCC Innovating Careers, Access, and Student Achievement, or MI CASA for short, provides additional staff and services to help students improve their readiness for careers and/or heighten their success in transferring to a four-year institution. This is MCC’s second Title V grant since achieving Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) status in 2018.
“This grant adds much needed services to MCC’s programs, providing better and direct linkage from students’ education to their careers,” said Dr. Curt Freed, MCC President. “Through this funding, MCC will open a career center and hire additional staff to serve students and strengthen the connection between the college and the vast network of employers throughout the region. The program also allows MCC to provide more robust services to English as a Second Language (ESL) students.”
MI CASA focuses on three primary areas. First, a new Career Services Center will be developed and staffed with employees to promote workshops, training, and other career-related services for students. Second, the program will provide additional resources, including stronger student advising, promotion of career pathways, and increased use of technology to help students and staff access and use career service resources. Third, the program will increase support to ESL students through advising, coaching, mentoring, and referrals to other MCC programs and services, as needed.
MCC promoted existing employee, Cora Rhode, to serve as the MI CASA Project Director. Rhode has served as Financial Aid Advisor and Success Coach at MCC since February 2023. As a long-time resident of Fort Morgan, Rhode’s experience working with students and knowledge of MCC’s programs and services will allow the project to move quickly in the coming weeks and months. Rhode started her new position January 1, 2024.
“As the Director of the Title V: MI CASA grant, I am thrilled to lead this transformative initiative at Morgan Community College,” stated Cora Rhode. “This grant empowers us to build bridges between education and careers, fostering student success and community growth. Together, we are shaping a future where everyone’s journey is marked by opportunity, support, and achievement. With a dedicated focus on diversity and inclusion, we are committed to enhancing ESL resources, ensuring every student, regardless of background, receives the support needed to thrive in their educational and career pursuits.”
The grant funding includes $285,000 toward an endowment that, when matched with local dollars, will go toward supporting students at MCC in the future. The endowment will go untouched for twenty years, maturing to approximately $1.5 million to be used for scholarships.
For additional information or support from the MCC MI CASA program, contact Cora Rhode at Cora.Rhode@MorganCC.edu or (970) 542-3148.
For more information about Morgan Community College, visit www.morgancc.edu.