Queensborough Community College (QCC) has been selected by Achieving the Dream as one of 10 colleges in the country for the launch of a three-year economic and social mobility initiative. As one of the selected schools, QCC will receive coaching, resources and professional learning support to improve academic outcomes, build pathways to sustainable careers and spark economic and social advancement for its students.
The goal of this three-year Accelerating Equitable Outcomes cohort is to implement comprehensive strategies to help more students earn post-secondary credentials. An emphasis is placed on assisting students who are Black, Latinx, Indigenous and from high-poverty backgrounds. Among the post-secondary credentials are occupational certificates and degrees, as well as creating pathways to jobs with living-sustaining wages, benefits and potential for upward mobility.
“Achieving the Dream colleges are distinct: They choose transformation over tradition, curiosity over inaction and innovation over the status quo,” Achieving the Dream President and CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout said. “The effort will help ten more colleges meet their student success goals, transform their institutions and normalize opportunities for racially minoritized students to make their way into lucrative careers that contribute to community economic growth.”
In order to be eligible for participation in this program, institutions were required to demonstrate that they serve a minimum of 45% of Black, Latinx, Indigenous and students of color and 20% Pell-eligible students. Funding for the initiative comes, in part, from an unrestricted $20 million grant to Achieving the Dream from MacKenzie Scott. The organization is using it to support its focus on building vibrant communities by accelerating the economic and social mobility of community college students.
“Queensborough has historically taken great pride in the diversity of its student population and its national reputation as a leader in social and economic mobility,” Queensborough Community College President Dr. Christine Mangino said. “Our work with Achieving the Dream is centered around ensuring that we are delivering the same outcomes for all students. Our college community will engage in an in-depth examination of who our students are and the structures we must change that contribute toward equity gaps. By leveraging Achieving the Dream’s national network of expert coaches and peer-institutions, we will improve access, completion rates and employment outcomes for our students.”
Achieving the Dream is a reform network of 300 community colleges across the United States. Drawing upon their expert coaches, groundbreaking programs and national peer network, Achieving the Dream provides institutions with integrated, tailored support for every aspect of their work — from foundational capacities such as leadership, data and equity to intentional strategies for supporting students holistically, building K–12 partnerships and more.
The organization’s vision is for every college to be a catalyst for equitable, anti-racist and economically vibrant communities. According to Achieving the Dream, with the right partner and the right approach, colleges can drive access, completion rates and employment outcomes — so that all students can access life-changing learning that propels them into community-changing careers.
The 10 colleges selected for this program comprise four states, with QCC being the lone school chosen from the East coast. The three California schools chosen include Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, Contra Costa College in San Pablo and Hartnell College in Salinas. Illinois had five schools selected, including Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Harold Washington College and Wilbur Wright College. The other school chosen was Farmington, New Mexico’s San Juan College.