June 2015, Volume 19, Number 3

Powerful Partnerships


New Accolades for Innovation

The Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute, the National Conference on Citizenship and the Corporation for National and Community Service named Miami Dade College a winner of the Service Year + Higher Education Innovation Challenge, along with Drake University and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Prizes made possible through the Lumina Foundation were awarded to outstanding plans for creating new university-based service year positions connected to academic credit. In addition to winning one of the three $30,000 awards, MDC received $10,000 for earning the audience choice award, which was voted on by those attending the Aspen Institute event.

“We challenged higher education to provide students opportunities for a year of civilian national service tied to learning and to ensure that ‘service year’ translates into course credit,” said John Bridgeland, Franklin Project co-chair. “Americans always respond to a challenge, and nine outstanding finalists have developed innovative efforts to be launched in coming years.”

MDC’s winning Changemaker Corps Peer Mentoring program will enable youth who have aged out of foster care to mentor others in the system with the goal of helping them stay in school, graduate and develop employability skills. Miami-Dade County has a large number of youth in foster care or who have recently aged out of the system who find the transition to adulthood fraught with challenges. Less than 50 percent graduate from high school, 40 percent will be homeless within 18 months of aging out and 25 percent will be incarcerated within two years of exiting foster care.

The Changemaker Corps will recruit members from the 300 former foster care youth enrolled at MDC. Each corps member will be assigned 20 former foster care students to mentor. Besides receiving academic credit for coursework associated with their service year experience, corps members will participate in professional development sessions.

“MDC is committed to creating a high-quality, replicable and scalable service year model,” said Josh Young, director of MDC’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy, which designed the plan. “The Changemaker Corps will transform the lives of at-risk students so that they stay in college, graduate and are prepared for the workforce and civic success.”

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution which does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
disability, veteran’s status, ethnicity, pregnancy, sexual orientation or genetic information. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the
Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577.