The Bellwether College Consortium announced that Madisonville Community College has been selected as a 2021 finalist for the Bellwether Award in the first round of competition.

The college was selected in the Instructional Programs and Services category for their MCC Accelerate program.

The Accelerate program targets primarily working adults to allow them to complete a college degree by taking one course at a time, Dr. Jay Parrent, the Vice President of MCC said. Students enrolled in the program take one class only one night a week for five weeks and are able to complete a degree in two years.

The Accelerate program is in three specific degree fields: business administration, computer and information technology and health sciences. All of those degrees are funded by the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, which provides free tuition.

“That is really appealing because it is in manageable bites,” said Parrent. “We took the time barrier away and we took the financial barrier away.”

“We are so excited to be recognized by the Bellwether College Consortium for MCC Accelerate,” said Dr. Cindy Kelley, MCC president in a news release. “Our program faculty and staff deserve so much credit for their commitment to student success.”

The Bellwether College Consortium is a group of colleges charged with addressing the critical issues facing community colleges through applicable research and the promotion and replication of best practices addressing workforce development, instructional programs and services and planning governance and finance, according to their website.

Finalists represent leading community colleges whose outstanding and innovative programs and practices were selected among competitive submissions, according to a news release. The Bellwether Awards are widely regarded as one of the nation’s most competitive and prestigious recognitions for community colleges.

Parrent said being a finalist for the award is an example of how the college’s programming is innovative, forward thinking and ultimately focused on students success.

The college applied for the award in early fall by submitting a brief description and video talking about the Accelerate program, he said. There were over 100 two-year colleges across the United States that applied for the award.

The next step in the award competition is to make a presentation to a review committee, said Parrent adding that it will happen virtually.

“We are really proud of our work, we believe in it and we want to help get the word out about Accelerate,” said Parrent. “We believe that it is something worth replicating across the country. That other colleges could do this kind of model and address this need for adults.”

Felecia Johnson, the Accelerate program coordinator and professor, said she has witnessed a collegewide effort to provide encouragement, assistance and instruction to the working adults who have demonstrated the ambition, initiative and courage to complete their degree.

Madisonville Community College will know in January 2021 if they passed the final round and won the award.

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