SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – American International College (AIC) is taking a major step towards equipping its students for successful careers with the launch of a new initiative.

AIC is one of ten member institutions selected to benefit from a generous three-year, $2.5 million grant awarded to the ‘Yes We Must’ Coalition (YWMC) by Ascendium Education Group. The grant aims to integrate career preparation into AIC’s four-year degree programs and promote equitable opportunities for all students.

Titled “Addressing Inequity in College Retention of Low-Income Students: Collaboratively Creating Pathways to Careers in Four-Year Degree Programs,” the grant will provide AIC with the necessary resources to implement innovative curricular and co-curricular strategies. The College will work in partnership with Jobs for the Future (JFF) and Sova Solutions to ensure that students from diverse backgrounds have equal access to career success.

Recognizing the changing demands of the employment market, AIC’s initiative marks a groundbreaking approach. By aligning academic coursework with practical skills, the College aims to better prepare its students for their future careers. This comprehensive educational approach will empower AIC students to excel academically and thrive professionally. The redesigned degree programs encompass a wide range of fields, including psychology, biology, business, sociology, theater, and criminal justice.

The YWMC grant not only addresses the challenges faced by low-income students in college retention but also emphasizes the importance of equity in education. AIC is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, have access to the resources required for long-term success.

Expressing his excitement, AIC President Hubert Benitez, stated, “We are thrilled to be one of the institutions benefiting from this significant grant. Integrating career preparation into our degree programs aligns perfectly with our mission of preparing students for meaningful lives and productive careers. This partnership will undoubtedly enhance our students’ educational experiences and empower them to thrive in an ever-changing job market.”

In addition to AIC, nine other YWMC member institutions will also receive the grant:

Augsburg University (MN), Benedict College (SC), Calumet College of St. Joseph (IN), Mars Hill University (NC), Mercy College (NY), Saint Elizabeth University (NJ), Trocaire College (NY), Union College (KY), and Villa Maria College (NY).

Together, these institutions aim to foster a brighter future for students by prioritizing career readiness and equal opportunities.