Montgomery County Community College's POWER program gives students a new start

By Diane VanDyke
MCCC recently celebrated the achievements of 44 students...

MCCC recently celebrated the achievements of 44 students...

Montgomery County Community College recently held a graduation ceremony to celebrate the achievements of 20 students who successfully completed the College’s 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 education and career goals through a free 14-week, two-credit course that focuses on career self-assessment, presentation skills, time management, resume and cover letter preparation, interview skills, computer basics, goal setting and college success skills, among others.

Since POWER was started in 2006, more than 600 students have graduated from the program. More than 40 graduates are continuing their education at MCCC to earn certificates and degrees and many others have entered the workforce.

The ceremony also recognized 10 students who graduated last summer from the program and 14 students who completed the POWER Plus program. POWER Plus provides support for graduates of the POWER program who are attending college classes, enrolled in degree programs or currently employed.

During the event, POWER graduate Brooklyne Camblee described how the skills she learned and the support she received in the program helped her to regain her confidence and move forward in her life.

“Most importantly, I learned that I have a voice and I do matter. My mental illness does not define me. My inner strength does that,” she told the audience of family members, friends and guests.

Fellow graduate Ryan DuBois talked about his past struggles with drug addiction and how he is now on a new path.

“January marks 10 years of sobriety for me,” he said. “I am a full-time student here with a 3.7 GPA. After I get my associate’s degree, I plan to go to Temple next fall. I want the American dream—a job, a house and kids.”

The POWER team includes Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman, Director Lisa Barbiero, Community Liaison Lori Schreiber, Employment and Grant Coordinator Tarsha Scovens, Coordinator Holly Harris, faculty member Teyne Crum Obasuyi and Peer Mentor Kevin Ford.

The POWER Program is funded by the Montgomery County Department 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.

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 or Director Lisa Barbiero at 215-641-6425 or