Northeastern and Roxbury Community College Team Up to Help Students Earn Degrees in High-Demand Fields
U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley, along with leaders from Northeastern University and Roxbury Community College, came together to celebrate a groundbreaking $1 million scholarship program for underrepresented and low-income students hailing from Greater Boston.
Through the Roxbury A2M Workforce Accelerator Partnership, students can earn their associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and begin careers in science and technology.
“This is the type of bold, intentional investment needed in this moment,” Pressley said during a celebration at RCC. “With a persistent and widening racial wealth gap, it is investments like this that will close that racial wealth gap and also address the glaring disparities in access to higher education.”
The Roxbury A2M Workforce Accelerator Partnership with Northeastern’s University is a structured, accelerated pathway for eligible, low-income local residents to acquire an associate degree at RCC, then bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Northeastern in fields including health, biotechnology and information technology with little or no out-of-pocket costs.
Made possible through the U.S. Department of Education’s Congressionally Funded Community Projects grant program, the Roxbury A2M Workforce Accelerator provides qualifying students with scholarships of up to $10,000 per year as well as wrap-around supports such as career, academic and financial aid advising, textbooks, transportation, child-care vouchers, computers and other technology, and the services of a dedicated program success coach.
“It’s a win for RCC, it’s a win for Northeastern, and most importantly it’s a win for the students,” said Ken Henderson, Northeastern chancellor and senior vice president for learning.
Henderson called the program a “gem,” and noted that it provided a fourth win for the companies looking to hire accelerator graduates.
“It’s something that really fits with what we at Northeastern want to achieve, and that is fundamentally to make an impact in our world,” Henderson continued. “The A2M program is a perfect example of what we can achieve in terms of impacting local students who will make a global impact.”
The program builds on the successes of Northeastern’s existing associate to master’s (A2M) pathway program and community college relationships. This A2M model prepares learners for success by shortening the time to degree completion and by providing research experiences, paid internships, industry and peer mentorships, specialized advising, and other tailored academic, career and social support.
RCC leaders praised the opportunity — as well as the support — the accelerator provides.
“Our students work hard,” RCC Interim President Jackie Jenkins-Scott said. “For them to have the opportunity to start here and to finish their master’s degree at Northeastern University is really a privilege and an honor for us.”
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins, chair of the RCC board of trustees, concurred, calling the A2M program “extraordinary.”
“I would like to extend a serious thank you to Northeastern University,” Tompkins said. “They have done so much for this school and this community, and they really have just made a lot of people’s lives a lot better.”
Meanwhile, Pressley laughed as she stumbled a little bit over the full name of the partnership.
“It’s a mouthful,” Pressley said. “But when you’re talking about a transformative generational impact, it should be.”
“This is the type of bold, intentional investment needed in this moment. With a persistent and widening racial wealth gap, it’s investments like this that will close that racial wealth gap and also address the glaring disparities in access to higher education.”
—Ayanna Pressley, U.S. Representative