Gateway to College Receives $10,000 Grant from PECO

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College received a $10,000 PECO grant on Sept. 3 to support the College’s Gateway to College program. The funds will be used for textbooks, transportation, meal subsidies and other costs not covered by the program.

Gateway to College is a national initiative that helps students who have dropped out of high school or are not on track to graduate to earn a diploma and college credits. In November 2012, MCCC was one of only 43 colleges in the country and only the second college in Pennsylvania selected to participate in the Gateway to College National Network. In September 2013, the College launched the program, which is held at the college’s Central Campus in Blue Bell and West Campus in Pottstown.

“Montgomery County Community College is committed to helping students succeed, and the Gateway to College program provides students with a supportive environment where they can complete their high school requirements, graduate and attain their post-secondary credential,” said College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “We appreciate PECO’s generous investment and ongoing support of our work and our students.”

In its inaugural year, the Gateway program had 50 participants and 11 graduates. This year, 55 students are enrolled, including returning and new students. Eighteen school districts and the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board partner with MCCC and refer students for the program.

“Education is invaluable, and we know how important it is to help students develop skills that prepare them for future success,” said Mike Innocenzo, senior vice president and COO, PECO. “PECO has been a proud partner of Montgomery County Community College since 2005, and this is one of many programs we have supported to help improve access to higher education for local high school students.”

For Upper Moreland High School student William Dobnak, the Gateway program gave him a second chance to achieve his true potential.

“I was failing my classes in high school,” Dobnak told the incoming Gateway students at orientation. “I barely passed my sophomore year and was at risk for failing my junior year when my school counselor told me about Gateway. Being here and taking classes 8on a college campus helped my stress level and overall happiness.”

The college environment and caring professors and staff made all the difference, he said, noting that his GPA after his first term in Gateway is 4.0.

“We deeply appreciate our partners—the school districts, Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board and PECO—and their investment in this program,” said Dr. Stout. “Programs like Gateway to College not only transform lives but create a ripple effect of positive benefits for the community and local and state economies, too.”

For more information about Gateway to College, contact Director Keima Sheriff at ksheriff@mc3.edu.

From left, PECO Senior Vice President and COO Michael Innocenzo, Director of Gateway to College Program Keima Sheriff, student William Dobnak and College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

From left, PECO Senior Vice President and COO Michael Innocenzo, Director of Gateway to College Program Keima Sheriff, student William Dobnak and College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

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