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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) is connecting with the local community through college alumni, local politicians, civic and nonprofit leaders, and business owners to share insights into how STCC makes an impact on Greater Springfield and Western Mass.

The public is invited to attend the first in a series of free virtual events on Wednesday, Aug. 19 from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. To register in advance and receive a Zoom meeting invitation, visit stcc.edu/conversations. STCC alumni will share how the college shaped their lives and careers in a session titled “The Right Choice.”

Featured speakers include the following STCC alumni:

• Yanira Aviles, who took HiSET prep classes at STCC to obtain a high-school equivalency diploma before earning an associate degree in 2020. While attending STCC, she was elected to be student representative to the board of trustees;

• Carlos Colondres, who was accepted into the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst after receiving his degree from STCC in 2019. He’s currently working on a degree in operations and information management and studying for the Realtor exam;

• Kara Woolridge, who graduated from STCC’s occupational therapy assistant program in 2016. She went on to receive a master’s degree in occupational therapy at American International College and now practices occupational therapy in an inpatient adult psychiatric unit at Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer;

• Sheldon Smith, who earned a degree in business administration from STCC in 2016 before transferring to Elms College. He serves as membership and operations coordinator for Make It Springfield; and

• Rose Colon, an attorney who specializes in personal injury, criminal defense, and civil-rights law. Colon began her collegiate academic career at STCC before transferring to a four-year college, and earned her law degree from Western New England University School of Law.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer a new social-media strategy and design certificate this fall in the Department of Technical Arts and Design.

The coursework is designed to prepare students for the planning and implementation of a promotional strategy using a variety of social-media platforms, including social networking, microblogging, photo sharing, and video sharing.

In addition, students will take courses in graphic design, motion graphics, marketing, and advertising to blend social-media strategy and design, a combination that is very much in demand, said Professor Philip Ruderman, a faculty member in the Graphic Communications & Photography program at STCC.

Ruderman called the program a vehicle to help students promote their talents, showcase their work, and develop relationships that will grow their employer’s business, or their own.

“With the explosion of social media within our society, the need for this training to blend effective campaigns with the latest technologies is long overdue,” Ruderman said.

The new social-media tools course offered this fall will focus on the basic elements needed to create and maintain a successful social-media campaign, including social-media marketing basics, social-media mix, social marketing process, analysis, strategy development, program and communication design, and implementation.

This online course will put students on the path for self-promotion and promotion of businesses. The training enables them to build awareness within the marketplace and to target and engage online viewers and build a community of followers.

An online search for social-media jobs in the region will yield a number of results, including digital content creators, digital content producers, social-media designers, and social-media specialists. In addition, a number of marketing positions requiring social-media skills can also be found.

“Many of our students majoring in graphic design or photography will need to promote themselves as independent, freelance photographers or graphic designers,” Ruderman said. “This new program will provide the necessary knowledge for students to be able to promote themselves and display their work to business prospects.”

Nine courses, or 27 credits, are required to complete the program, which could be completed in as few as two semesters. To learn more about the program, visit stcc.edu/explore/programs/smsd.coc. For questions, call Admissions at (413) 755-3333.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will host virtual registration events to help anyone interested in signing up for fall semester classes, which start Sept. 8.

Anyone interested in attending the virtual events can join a Zoom live meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon, or Thursday, Aug. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Visit stcc.edu/apply/stcc-to-your-plan to sign up and learn more.

STCC Dean of Admissions Louisa Davis-Freeman said she was excited to offer the virtual events. “You can meet with staff to discuss admissions and financial aid and take the necessary steps to register for classes from the safety of your own home. We also have an online chat button on the homepage of stcc.edu. If you can’t make it to one of the virtual registration events, you can chat with someone online between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You also can give us a call at (413) 755-3333.”

The virtual registration events can help students even if they’ve already registered for fall classes but need help with other services, Davis-Freeman said. Participants can get information about admissions, student financial services, academic advising, and testing and assessment, among other STCC services.

STCC will hold online classes for the fall semester, with a combination of low-density, face-to-face labs. Instruction plans were made in light of the Commonwealth’s four-phased approach to reopening the Massachusetts economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone interested in becoming a student at STCC this fall can also submit an online application at stcc.edu/apply anytime before Sept. 8.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer an online course this fall to prepare students for careers in the drinking-water industry and to help those working in the field enhance their skills.

The course, called “Concepts & Practices of Drinking Water Distribution,” is being offered through the Workforce Development Center at STCC in partnership with the Massachusetts Water Works Assoc. and the Springfield Water & Sewer Commission. The training, which runs from Sept. 14 to Dec. 4, is free for students enrolled in any community college in Massachusetts. Individuals not enrolled at a community college, as well as employees at water utilities, can register for the class for a fee.

This is the second in a series of courses designed for careers in the water industry. Last fall, a water-treatment course was offered in a similar self-paced online format. Students who completed the training last fall touted the course’s effectiveness and flexibility. The water distribution course will include weekly videos, readings, discussion topics, and quizzes.

Instructor Daniel Laprade, of the Massachusetts Water Works Assoc., has been working in the drinking-water field for more than 35 years and has been an instructor for more than 15 years. He said demand for trained employees in the drinking-water industry continues to grow as older workers retire.

“It’s an exciting and rewarding career,” he said. “Workers will face challenges as communities deal with aging infrastructure. Training such as the type we offer with STCC and the Springfield Water & Sewer Commission is critical to attracting new individuals to the field and enhancing the skills of new and existing employees.”

The 12-week training will help prepare students to take the Massachusetts Drinking Water Operator Grade 2, 3 and 4 Distribution license exams. Licensure is necessary for beginning a career in the drinking-water industry. This course is approved by the Massachusetts Board of Certification of Drinking Water Operators.

Material covered includes hydrology, source waters, basic math and chemistry, regulations, water sampling, hydraulics, distribution-system components (pipes, valves, pumps, tanks, meters), equipment operation and maintenance, safety, and administrative duties.

Someone with a Massachusetts water operator distribution license can work in such positions as water construction and repair technician; construction foreman; equipment operation and maintenance specialist; water-quality technician; SCADA, GIS, or instrumentation specialist; or water-systems manager.

Students who complete the water course can consider continuing their education in fields such as civil engineering, urban studies, software development, business administration, and more.

To enroll online, visit stcc.edu/water. To enroll in person or for more information, call (413) 755-4225 or e-mail [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will host an online workshop to help current and prospective students understand how to make a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID.

The workshop, which will be conducted through a Zoom webinar, is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15 at 3 p.m. The session is free and open to the public, but participants must register in advance by clicking here.

Brendon Pohner, financial-literacy coordinator at STCC, will explain how to create an FSA ID, which is a username and password that gives a student access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as a legal signature. An FSA ID can be used to log into the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Pohner said the FSA ID allows students to access their federal student aid websites securely and is the fastest way to sign an application and have it processed.

“However, it’s complex and really hard for a lot of students to grasp,” Pohner said “It does cause problems. If you can’t make an FSA ID or you forget your information and you can’t get it back, you can’t apply for financial aid. Some people get frustrated and decide not to go to college.”

Pohner said he will show participants in the webinar how to make an FSA ID and explain the best practices for maintaining the account and keeping it secure. He will answer questions at the end of the workshop.

Approximately 79% of STCC students receive some form of financial aid. The college is accepting applications for the fall semester, which begins Sept. 8. To apply to STCC, visit stcc.edu/apply or call Admissions at (413) 755-3333.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Responding to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will restructure academic departments and discontinue some programs with low enrollment.

Geraldine de Berly, Vice President of Academic Affairs, announced the restructuring plan and listed seven programs to be discontinued in a campus e-mail. The program discontinuations will affect approximately 95 students, but those individuals will be able to complete their degree or certificate at STCC. Across an academic year, about 7,000 students enroll at STCC in about 90 different programs.

The decisions were made by the college in anticipation of projected budget shortfalls in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“It is regrettable that STCC is not immune to the fiscal difficulties that have befallen higher-education institutions,” de Berly said in the e-mail. “These unprecedented times have required hard decisions, and the loss of programs, as well as skilled and talented faculty and staff, is most dismaying. We recognize the considerable contributions and commitment made to the STCC community, and genuinely wish there was different news to share.”

STCC will reduce 21 positions through retrenchments and layoffs, in addition to early-retirement incentives. Some of the retrenchments are a result of restructuring and program closures.

John Cook, STCC president, said the restructuring plan will not change the college’s mission, and in fact reaffirms the imperative to continue as the most affordable and accessible option for many families. STCC is the only technical community college in Massachusetts with health and STEM programs serving significant populations of African-American, Latinx, and first-generation college students.

STCC’s Division of Student Affairs has worked diligently to provide quality services and student support in a remote environment during the COVID-19 crisis, said Vice President of Student Affairs Darcey Kemp. Some of the many services being provided remotely include academic advising, the Career Development Center, assistance with food insecurity and housing, disability services, testing and assessment, tutoring, as well as support to veterans.

Like other community colleges, STCC has experienced a steady decline in enrollment since peaking in 2010 during the Great Recession. The decline is linked to a number of factors, including the previously low unemployment rate, as well as smaller high-school graduating classes.

“We will continue to offer the most affordable pathway for students who seek a smart start and transfer, or look to enter critical workforce and career fields that include manufacturing and healthcare, with programs that include nursing, medical assistant, and respiratory care. Our two middle names are vital, and STCC prides ourselves on making the dream of higher education possible,” Cook said. “The college has made extremely difficult decisions necessitated by the fiscal impact of the pandemic, but we are resolved during these unprecedented challenges.”

Cook added that STCC will work closely with the local legislative delegation, as well as the Baker-Polito administration, regarding funding and support of community colleges. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, community colleges have been accustomed to adjusting operating expenses and limited budgets each year in support of students.

In light of fiscal considerations, departments have been restructured within the School of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies and the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and programs to be discontinued include automotive technology, biomedical engineering technology, biotechnology, civil engineering technology, cosmetology, dental assistant, and landscape design and management technology

STCC will work with students enrolled in the discontinued programs to develop an academic plan to complete their program of study. Students will be supported by an academic or faculty advisor and can consider migrating to related programs. For example, a student studying civil engineering technology may consider architectural building technology. Course offerings will continue beginning fall 2020 through program completion. Administrators are also considering moving some of the discontinued programs to STCC’s Workforce Development Center, which offers non-credit classes that meet employer demand across the region.

Due to COVID-19, STCC this fall will offer on-campus low-density labs using social-distancing protocols combined with online instruction. The college is known for its state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment in STEM programs, as well as a nationally recognized patient-simulation facility used by students in its health programs.

COVID-19 Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a $35,000 grant to help students affected by the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts awarded the grant through the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. STCC was one of several organizations to receive financial help in the latest round of awards through the COVID-19 Response Fund.

The Community Foundation, which announced the grant on June 16, said the award is made possible in part through funding from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, which works in concert with regional community foundations and nonprofit leaders to support those across the state most impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis.

The grants are designed to address immediate needs for families, mental health, and food justice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

STCC President John Cook said the financial help is much-needed and appreciated during the pandemic, which has had a significant impact on populations served by STCC, including students of color.

“On behalf of a grateful college, we would like to express our appreciation for this award,” Cook said. “These are very difficult and complex times for public higher education, and we could not be more thankful for support from the Community Foundation.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) has named a higher-education administrator from New York as vice president of Student Affairs.

Darcey Kemp began her new post on April 27. She had served as the assistant vice president for Student Development, Leadership, and Completion Initiatives at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y. since 2015.

In her leadership role, Kemp will oversee the division at STCC charged with providing support that extends the classroom experience, including student governance and clubs, athletics, tutoring, advising, and student health and wellness.

From admissions to graduation, Students Affairs enhances opportunities for student development, involvement, and transformation at an institution known for degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), signature health programs, and a highly diverse student body.

STCC President John Cook called Kemp an outstanding leader who made an impression on the search committee. “Throughout the search process, Ms. Kemp demonstrated she has the qualities we were looking for in a vice president of Student Affairs,” he said. “I look forward to her serving as part of our team at STCC.”

Kemp said she was honored to accept the new role at STCC. “I am committed to fostering an inclusive and engaged community that puts students first. I look forward to getting to know the faculty and staff and building strong relationships with students to help them achieve success.”

Prior to serving at the College of Saint Rose, Kemp spent nearly a decade at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania. She served, respectively, as dean of students for the North East campus and as director of the Center for Student Engagement & Leadership Development at the Erie campus.

Kemp holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y.

COVID-19 Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College’s respiratory care program is lending its five ventilators to area hospitals preparing for a surge in patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christopher Scott, dean of the School of Health and Patient Simulation, said STCC is prepared to donate or lend any equipment hospitals need during the coronavirus emergency. The school recently donated all of its personal protective equipment to area hospitals, medical centers, and first responders.

STCC is lending its ventilators to Baystate Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center, both in Springfield, and to Holyoke Medical Center.

“We knew that hospitals are preparing for an influx of patients and will need ventilators,” Scott said. “We work closely with Baystate, Mercy, and Holyoke on a regular basis. We are grateful for all their support over the years, so we are happy to let them use whatever equipment we have to help their patients.”

Scott said STCC respiratory care students have trained on the ventilators, which are the same type the hospitals use. “Our semester is winding down, and we feel these vents can be put to better use on the front lines in hospitals.”

Ventilators are used by some patients infected with COVID-19 who have breathing problems. The breathing devices have been in demand since the start of the pandemic. Ventilators are one of the tools used to help some COVID-19 patients.

The coronavirus crisis has put a spotlight on the profession of respiratory care. In addition to helping patients with COVID-19, respiratory therapists treat people suffering from a range of chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea, and chronic bronchitis.

The two-year associate degree program at STCC trains students in the treatment, management, diagnosis, and care of patients with diseases related to the heart and lungs. Training includes the use of therapeutic gases, ventilator support, breathing exercises, aerosol administration, medications, humidification, and maintenance of airways. Graduates of the program can transfer to a four-year college or university to continue their education or begin working at a hospital or other healthcare facility.

Over the last several weeks, several STCC respiratory care students applied for limited-permit licenses to work at area hospitals and help meet the demand to help patients.

COVID-19 Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Responding to an urgent call for supplies, Springfield Technical Community College’s (STCC) School of Health and Patient Simulation is donating personal protective equipment to area hospitals and medical centers.

The equipment, which includes surgical masks, isolation gowns, and exam gloves, will serve as a first line of defense for healthcare professionals and reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 while treating patients.

“We recognize there is a critical need for personal protective equipment at hospitals and medical centers,” said Christopher Scott, dean of the School of Health and Patient Simulation at STCC. “By donating our supplies, we are doing what we can to protect the healthcare workers who are running short on masks and other protective equipment. The community needs to work together to ensure we defeat this pandemic.”

The equipment will be donated to Baystate Health, Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health Of New England, Holyoke Medical Center, and Cooley Dickinson Hospital. In addition, STCC will donate supplies to the West Springfield Fire Department, which provides emergency medical services.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) has a hot new program. Starting this fall, the college will offer a new option in the Fire Protection and Safety Technology department: fire investigation transfer. Students who choose this option will study fire behavior, fire operations, prevention, investigations, and criminal law through courses in fire science and criminal justice.

“We’re thrilled to offer this option, which will prepare students to continue their education toward a bachelor’s degree in fire investigation, homeland security, or fire science, based on their desired area of interest,” said Julian “Skip” Tenczar, chair of the Fire Protection and Safety Technology department.

Fire investigators often work for local, state, and federal agencies, but also pursue opportunities in the private sector.

According to Tenczar, fire investigators need a sharp eye, dedicated commitment to discovering the truth, and professional integrity to follow their findings through the legal system.

“The Fire Investigation program at STCC can open doors to this exciting field where you can make a difference,” he said, adding that the program is offered in the evening only, which will give students who work more flexibility.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for fire inspectors and investigators are expected to grow by 8% between 2018 and 2028. The median pay in 2018 was $60,200.

Students who successfully complete the two-year program will receive an associate of science degree in fire protection and safety technology.

“This new fire investigation transfer option is another wonderful example of how the college creates pathways for students who are seeking educational and career opportunities,” said Christopher Scott, dean of the School of Health and Patient Simulation. “If you have an interest in fire investigation, we believe STCC is a terrific place to get started.”

To learn more about the program and to apply for the fall, visit stcc.edu/explore/programs/fitr.as. Individuals with questions may contact Tenczar at [email protected] or call (413) 755-4596.


SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) is closed today, March 13, to prepare for a deep cleaning.

Campus Facilities will hire an outside vendor to perform the cleaning over the weekend. While there are no known cases of the coronavirus known as COVID-19 on campus or within the city of Springfield, STCC will undergo an extensive cleaning out of an abundance of caution.

STCC continues to consult with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the city of Springfield, with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Students will be away from campus for spring break, which runs Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 20. The campus, however, will resume normal business on Monday, March 16. College administrators will continue developing plans for continuity of instruction.

Updates will be posted as they become available at stcc.edu/coronavirus.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) named Thomas Robitaille an instructor in Mechanical Engineering Technology.

Robitaille is the third generation in his family to join this field after his father and grandfather. A STCC graduate with an associate degree in mechanical engineering technology, he has been working as a CNC machinist and programmer at MTG Inc. in Westfield since October 2016.

While at STCC, he was a peer tutor for mechanical engineering technology. He also taught a fall 2017 lecture and lab course in the program, which prepared him for this teaching position.

Prior to coming to STCC, Robitaille was a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Infantry from 2009 to 2014, stationed out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. While enlisted, he served two combat tours in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Registration is open for Springfield Technical Community College’s (STCC) veterinary assistant training program, which begins March 2.

The course runs through August, with classes meeting Mondays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Elliot Levy, senior director of the Workforce Development Center at STCC, encourages prospective students not to delay registration since space is limited.

The training prepares students to keep animals healthy, care for them when they are ill, and assist veterinarians in their offices.

Veterinary assistants work directly under the supervision of veterinarians and the veterinary technician as they perform procedures, examinations, and treatments. They provide basic care, such as feeding and exercising the animals, while learning how to recognize signs of illness and disease, performing laboratory procedures, interacting with clients, and performing general office procedures.

Veterinary assistants work in animal hospitals and clinics, animal shelters, laboratories, zoos, and animal parks.

The training marks the first step toward getting a start in a field where the jobs are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinary assistant jobs are expected to grow 19% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

For more information and to enroll online, visit stcc.edu/wdc/descriptions/veterinary-assistant. To contact the Workforce Development Center Office, call (413) 755-4225.

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