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BC's Jumpstart program named finalist for prestigious Bellwether Award

BC's Jumpstart program named finalist for prestigious Bellwether Award

Wed Jan 23, 2019

Brazosport College has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2019 Bellwether Award, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards given to community colleges recognizing outstanding and innovative programs and practices.

Brazosport College earned this honor with its innovative Jumpstart community-training program. Jumpstart is a free, nine-week program that recruits students who have faced significant challenges in their lives, such as low socio-economic status, food and shelter insecurity and traumatic life events — including Hurricane Harvey — and trains them for entry-level positions in the local construction industry.

In addition to being entirely cost-free, the Jumpstart program provides wrap-around services, such as childcare assistance, rental assistance, transportation assistance and more. Upon completion, students leave with new construction tools and nationally-recognized credentials. Nearly 80 percent of all 250-plus Jumpstart students have secured employment, earning, on average, $22 per hour, twice the living wage in Texas.

“We are so honored to be considered a finalist for this prestigious award,” said Brazosport College President Dr. Millicent Valek. “Jumpstart is an extremely innovative workforce program that is changing the trajectory of lives and providing a much-needed skilled workforce. Brazosport College faculty and staff, as well as our industry and community partners, have excelled in creating this exciting and extremely successful program.” 

The winner of the 2019 Bellwether Award will be announced at the Community College Futures Assembly in San Antonio on Feb. 5. The Bellwether Awards are given by the Bellwether College Consortium, which recognizes innovative programs at community colleges.

The Bellwether College Consortium is an elite group of colleges charged with the mission to address the critical issues facing community colleges through research, and the promotion and replication of best practices addressing workforce development, instructional programs and services, and planning governance and finance.

In addition, the Bellwether College Consortium, through the Community College Futures Assembly, addresses the best practices occurring nationally and internationally at community colleges. Annually, the Community College Futures Assembly reviews more than 1,000 community college programs in the areas of workforce development, instructional programs and services, and planning governance and finance, with 10 community colleges selected to compete in each of the three areas for the coveted Bellwether Award.