ACE MV changes name, offers more

MV Center for Education and Training will offer college degrees.


ACE MV has officially changed its name to MV Center for Education and Training (MVCET). Under the new moniker, the Vineyard-based educational nonprofit will add college degrees to its curriculum via the MV Community College Consortium.  

College level courses will be on offer right on the Vineyard and they can be compiled toward an associates degree from Bristol Community College, MVCET executive director Holly Bellebuono told The Times. To that end, MVCET and Bristol Community College will host a “one-stop enrollment workshop” at Martha’s Vineyard High School on Thursday from 12:45 pm to 2:30 pm. The event will also provide assistance in federal student aid.

Bellebuono said the joint venture with Bristol Community College is meant to offer Vineyarders the opportunity to take “all the basic year one and year two classes” they wish without ever leaving the Vineyard. Bellebuono said isolation on the Vineyard has proven to be a big deterrent to many Vineyarders either seeking degrees or completing degrees. Bellebuono said a recent Rural Scholars’ report found college access was “direly needed” on the Vineyard. The joint venture will enable a high school graduate to gain an associates degree without ever leaving the island, she said. 

Bellebuono said the success of the offshore wind technician certificate program “in a big way” led to further cooperation between MVCET and Bristol Community College. MVCET and Bristol Community College graduated several students from that program on June 4. Katie Ruggieri, associate dean of STEM at Bristol Community College, previously described those graduates as “pioneers” in a new industry. 

Bellebuono said Bristol Community College has been “great to work with.” Bellebuono said she expects to ramp up the MVCET relationship with Bristol Community College and to increase the college’s footprint on the Vineyard. 

The joint program launches this fall with English classes and ramps up in January with biology, psychology, and sociology classes, Bellebuono said. 

“We’re going to get a classroom at the high school,” Bellebuono said. “All the students will gather in the classroom so it’s a peer learning experience — they learn as a cohort. We’re going to have childcare available if it’s needed, bus passes for transportation if people need it, tutors, and hopefully mentors and coaches who will be volunteers from the community.”

Bellebuono also said the joint venture will also provide the opportunity for some Vineyarders to potentially become adjunct faculty of Bristol Community College. 

Bellebuono said MVCET is also offering an early childhood education program through Cape Cod Community College (CCCC). The Cape-based college will have all the same trappings and accommodations as courses through Bristol Community College. 

“It’s going to be for people who already have a daycare in their home, or they work at a daycare center, or they want to be licensed as a homecare provider,’ Bellebuono said. The class also included professional development and a CPR certificate. 

The early childhood education program, Bellebuono said, has been supported by a $25,000 grant from the “newly formed West Chop Community Fund.”

Bellebuono said ACE MV, a name that dates from 2008, was determined by staff not to be “the most clear and compelling way to get our message across to the community.”