Xcel Energy Foundation grants $15,000 to CCA Foundation to help reach underserved students

 The Community College of Aurora Foundation has received a $15,000 grant from the Xcel Energy Foundation to support the Community College of Aurora’s outreach to underserved students.

The grant is a continuation of Xcel Foundation’s past support and will allow CCA to prepare students to enter academic programs and careers in “STEM” fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The grant will also enable the college to increase its emphasis on transitioning Community ESL students into for-credit college courses.

The Community ESL program at CCA offers non-credit courses that teach English to adults through a curriculum designed to help students learn the language skills they need for work and day-to-day life in the United States. Classes cover speaking, listening, reading, and writing, and students practice with real-life situations such as filling out forms, reading labels, and finding jobs. CCA also provides free basic computer classes for enrolled students.

“We want to foster the success of the community’s newest residents so that they can move up to college-credit coursework,” said Chris Ward, CCA executive director for grants and planning. “The support of the Xcel Energy Foundation will enable us to increase services for students whose first language is not English and will allow us to add opportunities for career training for refugees and other underserved students.” Ward added that the grant will also sustain the college’s outreach to inform K-12 students and others about educational opportunities at the college.

Xcel Energy Foundation support of CCA programs began in 2002 and has made it possible for the college to offer science, math, and computer camps for youth in Aurora. The current grant will allow CCA to broaden its efforts on special projects such as Math Day for Girls and other collaborative school district programs that develop STEM pathways into college.

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Photo caption: From left: CCAF Executive Director Diana Whye; CCA Executive Director for Grants and Planning Chris Ward; CCA President Linda Bowman; Xcel Area Manager for Community and Local Government Affairs Tom Henley (Xcel); CCA student Nene Sumbunu; ESL Instructor and Xcel Grant Coordinator Jane Harding; CCAF Board President Brad Pierce.

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