Montgomery County Community College recently celebrated the achievements of 21 students who successfully completed the Partnership on Work Enrichment and Readiness (POWER) program.
The POWER program helps individuals in mental health and substance abuse recovery to successfully develop and reach their educational and career goals through a free 14-week, two-credit course that focuses on career self-assessment, presentation skills, time management, computer basics, goal setting, resume and cover letter preparation and interview skills, among others.
Held in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month, the graduation ceremony also recognized the accomplishments of 11 students who are in the POWER Plus program. These students are attending college classes, enrolled in degree programs or currently employed as a result of their participation in the POWER Program and receive ongoing support through POWER Plus.
According to POWER Director Lisa Barbiero, over 550 students have graduated from the POWER program since it started in 2006. More than 40 graduates are continuing their education at MCCC to earn certificates and degrees and many others entered the workforce.
As part of the ceremony, several POWER graduates shared their stories, describing the personal challenges they overcame and how the POWER program provides the self-assurance and skills they will need in the future.
For Matthew Lynch, the POWER program helped him to turn his life around and learn organizational skills, develop confidence and create a resume. As a result, he was able to go on job interviews and has plans to continue his education at MCCC.
“The POWER program allowed me to see what I’m worth,” he said.
Fellow student, Betsy Thornton will be graduating from MCCC with an associate’s degree in Human Services this month. She was able to reach her goal with the ongoing support of the POWER Plus Program.
“My disorder knocked me off my feet so many times,” she said. “But, with the support of POWER Plus, I was able to get my degree.”
The POWER team includes Director Lisa Barbiero, Community Liaison Lori Schreiber, Employment and Grant Coordinator Tarsha Scovens, Coordinator Holly Harris, Peer Mentor Kevin Ford, Strategies for College Success Instructor Teyne Crum-Obasuyi and Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman.
The POWER program is funded by the Montgomery County Office of Health and Human Services, The Pew Charitable Trust, the Patricia Kind Family Foundation, the Montgomery County Foundation, the Charter Foundation, and Montgomery County Community College. Help support the POWER program by making a donation.
Individuals interested in the POWER program may obtain a referral from their mental health or school provider or may self-refer. For more information, contact Community Liaison Lori Schreiber at 215-461-1151 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Director Lisa Barbiero at 215-641-6425 or email@example.com.