2020 has been the year of “the pivot.” When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it turned nearly every area of the Rochester community upside down.
The MCC Experience Program at The Arc of Monroe was no exception.
Monroe Community College (MCC) Experience is a higher education transitional service that prepares participants for eventual community employment. People learn relevant, marketable employment skills and acquire vocational internship and volunteer experience in various departments on and off MCC campus.
Located at MCC’s Downtown Campus since 2017, the campus offered opportunities to gather, socialize, learn, and experience many facets of college life. With their student IDs, participants enjoyed all of the campus amenities, clubs, and social events.
But with the onset of the pandemic, and MCC’s campuses going to a remote learning model, The Arc’s program was in need of a new, temporary home. They found the perfect solution by becoming members of the Boundless Connections Technology Center at the downtown Rochester Sibley Building.
Founder, Owner and CEO Christina Lopez created the Technology Center to “close the gap between those who consider themselves technically savvy and those who don’t. We are
currently expanding our Technology Center to multiple cities to facilitate exploration of technology as solutions in all aspects of community life. Our year round programs, events and clubs are for all ages, abilities, and interests and are designed to develop a local pipeline for a thriving tech sector, retain local talent, and elevate the technical skills of the entire workforce,” she said.
MCC Experience Program Manager Michelle Frisbee says the students have been taking full advantage of everything the Technology Center has to offer.
“We learned quickly that the culture and environment at Boundless Connections aligns perfectly with the values of The Arc of Monroe’s MCC Experience,” she said. “Learning new skills in to further their career opportunities, explore their strengths and create a safe learning environment where students feel comfortable to try new skills, make mistakes, and learn how to fix the mistakes they made.”
Boundless Connections is the first Technology Center in the Rochester area.
“We are so fortunate that we were able to be one of the first members to be a part of this unique development and support of an amazing locally owned business. Christina shares our views that individuals with disabilities not only can learn, but have a lot to offer our community by using technology to expand opportunities in various areas of employment,” said Frisbee.
The Experience students use resources at the center to make videos using free video editing software online as well as learning about computers, and the difference between RAM and memory on a computer. Using the coding maze in the center, students learned how RAM helps computers move faster and then completed their first ever code on the computer. Program participants continued to work on technology that they found most interesting as well including things like operating the center’s 3D printers, making movies against the green screen and creating PowerPoint presentations.
Frisbee isn’t sure when they will return to their original MCC home, but for now, she says the students love the Technology Center and being in the Sibley Building.
Want to Learn More?
Our next Arc of Monroe, Pre-Voc, Program of the Week will be on Thursday, February 4, from Noon to 1 p.m. where we will be highlighting the MCC Experience program which allows participants to attend college classes, participate in vocational internships and enjoy a vibrant campus social life. Register here for this free virtual event.
Besides the MCC Experience, The Arc of Monroe offers several Employment Readiness Services that provide various hands-on educational opportunities to prepare people with I/DD for competitive/community employment. Find out more at https://arcmonroe.org/employment-readiness-support-services/