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STCC Receives Funding to Empower Latina Students

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) was awarded a $25,000 grant to provide mentorship and resources to Latina and low-income female students.

The funding from KPMG U.S. Foundation Inc. will support an STCC diversity program called Business Leaders Owning Opportunity Matters (BLOOM).

BLOOM Bridge empowers female-identifying Latinas from low-income households who may be interested in majoring in a business program, a business career, or transferring into a business program at a four-year college or university.

Grant funding from KPMG’s Reaching New Heights Program will be used to provide career exploration, peer mentoring, tutoring, academic support, and tuition for two one-credit business courses. Students will also gain access to career networking and mentoring advice from leaders in accounting, marketing, management, and entrepreneurship fields.

“We’re very pleased that the efforts of professor Rhoda Belemjian and Assistant Dean Emilie Clucas Leaderman in submitting for this competitive KPMG grant were successful and look forward to continued collaboration with KPMG,” said Geraldine de Berly, STCC’s vice president of Academic Affairs.

Richard Greco, dean of the School of Liberal and Professional Studies, added that “we are grateful to KPMG for supporting our efforts to remove barriers for underrepresented students. By removing the barrier of cost for underrepresented students, STCC seeks to strengthen partnerships and enhance existing diversity pipelines with local high schools.”

Anita Whitehead, philanthropy leader and chair of KPMG U.S. Foundation, noted that “the KPMG U.S. Foundation is proud to announce that it has awarded five institutions a total of $125,000 in funding for the inaugural year of our Reaching New Heights Program.”

Reaching New Heights is a grant and matching-gift program designed to promote access and equity in higher education, increase awareness of pipeline diversity at institutions, and create opportunities for collaboration between KPMG professionals and educators. According to KPMG, each selected institution will receive a $25,000 grant to fund a new or existing diversity program and participate in a 2:1 match up to $500,000 in eligible donations made by KPMG professionals, partners, and retired partners.

This program aligns with KPMG’s Accelerate 2025 commitment to advance equity in both its workplace and society by providing enhanced access to meaningful opportunities to help develop a more diverse workforce for the future.

STCC offers several diversity programs for students, including the Female Initiative for Leadership and Education (Lead) program, which provides leadership opportunities, one-on-one mentoring, and networking with business and community leaders. BLOOM students will automatically be enrolled in the Lead program to enhance their academic and career success in the business career or transfer programs.

“BLOOM is a terrific opportunity for our underrepresented female students,” said Karolyn Burgos Toribio, Community Outreach counselor for the Lead program, who benefited from Lead when she was a student at STCC. “We look forward to helping students in the BLOOM Bridge program by empowering them to pursue a career in business, while also helping them in their leadership development and self-development. The program will also help students build networks and offer community-engagement opportunities. My time in the Lead program helped me become the woman I am today. It helped me acquire leadership skills, build my network, and provided me with mentorship support that I am eternally grateful for.”

Another support program, the Male Initiative for Leadership and Education (MILE), provides academic support, workshops, community involvement, experiences in leadership, and mentors to male students on campus who wish to participate.

STCC, the only technical community college in Massachusetts, is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution. Colleges with an Hispanic student population of at least 25% are eligible for the designation. Latino, Latina, and Latinx students make up more than 30% of the student population at STCC.

To donate to the BLOOM program, visit stcc.edu/supportbloom.

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