SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso Community College’s Community Education Program (CEP) was named an award finalist in the Instructional Programs & Services category by the Bellwether College Consortium.

The Bellwether College Consortium announced its list of 30 community colleges selected as 2022 finalists for the high coveted Bellwether Awards in the first round of competition. Bellwether finalists represent leading community colleges whose outstanding and innovative programs and practices were selected as exemplary.

The CEP instructs students in many areas, such as ESL, literacy, and GED preparation, and implements EPCC’s highly successful High School Equivalency and College Assistance Migrant Programs.

CEP offers Spanish literacy, GED, transition to college assistance, computer literacy, health literacy, creative writing, and other educational and support services.

“EPCC’s Community Education Program (EPCC-CEP) excels in serving economically and academically disadvantaged residents with high-quality education and support services at no cost to participants,” said Andres Muro, program director. “CEP strives to serve difficult to reach students not served by other programs.”

The EPCC-CEP program was designed to address the critical challenge of local residents, including migrant workers and their families, who lack access to educational opportunities. The program uses GED classes as a springboard to help participants access even more opportunities, such as higher education or military career paths. The CEP bridges education and support services by providing a roadmap for its participants to pursue further education and opportunities for success.  EPCC-CEP is partially funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education and also partners with more than 20 community organizations.

“EPCC’s Community Education Program helps educate, support, and empower students and their families to have better lives and futures,” William Serrata, EPCC president said.  “Being a 2022 Bellwether finalist for this important work is testament to EPCC’s commitment to improving lives and strengthening our region.”

The Bellwether College Consortium is a group of colleges charged with addressing the critical issues facing community colleges through applied research and the promotion and replication of best practices. 

“The Bellwether College Consortium prides itself on identifying and celebrating replicable, scalable, and results-based programs and models for disseminating these highly lauded examples of institutional success to peer institutions,” said Rose Martinez, director of the Bellwether College Consortium.

The Instructional Programs and Services category recognizes programs and services that foster or support teaching and learning in the community college.  The following 10 institutions were named finalists:

• Blinn College District
• Bucks County Community College
• Community College of Baltimore County
• El Paso Community College
• Horry-Georgetown Technical College
• San Diego Mesa College
• South Mountain Community College
• Tulsa Community College
• University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana
• Yavapai College

All finalists will be presented at the Community Colleges Futures Assembly scheduled for January 30, 2022, where one winner will be selected.

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