Edmonds Community College has received a $1,699,855 award from the U.S. Department of State to administer the Community College Initiative program to provide professional training and degrees to students from South Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Near East.
As the lead college, Edmonds CC has partnered with Whatcom Community College and Pierce College to create the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) to provide the educational programs stipulated by the cooperative agreement.
This is Edmonds CC’s fourth year leading the NWCCI program, which, to date, has hosted 130 students. During the 2012-13 academic year, 42 students from Brazil, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Ghana, Kenya, Pakistan, Panama, South Africa, and Turkey will study in Washington through this partnership.
The program’s goals are to foster diplomacy and mutual understanding between the participating countries and the United States, and to provide young professionals access to professional training. Participants will take classes toward a professional certificate while engaging in a program designed to introduce them to American society and the cultural norms of the United States.
In addition to taking classes and participating in extracurricular activities, such as visits to city government offices and local businesses, participants share their own cultures through presentations on campus and in the community.
In years past, students have presented to audiences in public schools, local rotary and chambers of commerce, as well as held leadership positions in co-curricular campus organizations and clubs. In addition, students are paired with a local "friendship family" with whom they meet for bimonthly dinners and cultural activities.
The Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) is one of only three schools in the United States to receive the award the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs makes annually. The funds provide valuable support to assist the college in its international education goal of fostering better understanding between people of the world and local communities.
Emre Aras is a Turkish student studying aerospace with the program’s current cohort.
“The job skills I’ve gained through NWCCI are an advantage to me,” she said. “When you’re living and studying abroad, you’re forced to think outside your own culture. Being on the NWCCI program has made me an open-minded person.”