Northern Virginia Community College has received a $6.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to expand the work of the Community College Consortium (CCC).
The CCC is one of three consortia that administer the U.S. Department of State’s Community College Initiative Program (CCIP) in coordination with the Bureau.
Led by NOVA, the CCC is a collection of several community colleges that provide educational and cultural experiences to international students. The students spend a year in the U.S. acquiring technical and professional skills, leadership abilities and an understanding of American society, democracy and culture. Students earn certificates and fulfill volunteer hours to accomplish these goals.
The new funding will allow the CCC to increase the number of students it serves and add a new community college to the group. “This makes us one of the largest consortiums within CCIP,” said Syedur Rahman, project director of the Community College Consortium and director of International Sponsored Programs at NOVA. “It will allow us to create more awareness about the role of community colleges in higher education, while also serving more students, especially those from underserved populations.”
In addition to NOVA, the CCC now includes the City College of San Francisco, the Maricopa County Community College District, Miami Dade College, the College of DuPage, and Houston Community College.
Bunker Hill Community College in Charleston, Mass., is the latest college to join the group. During the 2012-13 academic year, a total of 79 students were enrolled among the community colleges in the CCC. That number will grow to 150 for the upcoming academic year.
The number of students served at NOVA will increase from 14 to 32 for the 2013-14 academic year. In addition, students will attend classes at both the Annandale and Alexandria campuses. Before, students only attended classes at Annandale.
NOVA’s 14 students recently left the U.S. to go back to their home countries, but not before taking part in an end-of-year celebration that included a certificate ceremony and formal dinner. Also in attendance, were students from the other community colleges in the CCC.
For Abdul Qayyum, 32, of Pakistan, coming to the U.S. was a dream realized. “I really wanted to learn about the American people,” he said. “I knew this would be a good way to do it.”
Qayyum took full advantage of the program at NOVA by volunteering close to 300 hours (only 100 were required) at sites such as the Library of Congress National Book Festival and Transitional Housing Corporation. He also earned two certificates: one in project management, and the other in nonprofit leadership and administration.
About the Community College Initiative Program: Established in 2006, the program provides international students with the opportunity to build technical skills, enhance leadership capabilities, and strengthen English language proficiency while attending U.S. community colleges. The program also provides opportunities for professional internships, service learning, and community engagement activities. After completing the program, participants return home with new skills and expertise to help them contribute to the economic growth and development of their country.
Participants are eligible to study in various fields including information technology, business management and administration, and tourism and hospitality management. Students are recruited from historically underserved populations.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.