▲ In 1997, MCC collaborated with the Lowell Regional Employment Board to provide basic academic skills training to more than 140 workers who lost their jobs at the Borden (formerly Prince Pasta) plant when it closed. The project was funded by the Corporation for Business Work and Learning. Whether it is assisting with the procedural paperwork associated with grant applications, or providing counsel during the sometimes volatile struggles of a budget cycle, Cowan said the legislative support that MCC enjoys is a staple of the college’s larger mission. “Our elected partners realize the value of our institution, and whenever possible, play the role of our biggest supporters and advocates when it counts,” said Cowan. DE V E L OP I NG A WOR K F ORC E While the college continued to grow in terms of real estate, it was also experiencing significant academic growth. Possibly one of the accomplishments that Cowan is proudest of is the college’s attention to its workforce development programs, located under the umbrella of the Business and Industry training programs. While the training component began in the 1980s, it really took off in the 1990s when the former business dean used her role as MCC president to push the agenda. A series of college administrators, including Caryl Dundorf, Frank Falcetta, Chris Brennan, Kim Burns, and the program’s current dean, Judy Burke, helped bring a razor-sharp focus to a community training program that has become a leader in the state’s community college system. “Carole had a strong business sense and realized the value of partnerships, especially with our corporate neighbors,” said Burke. “In our Business and Industry programs, we embed ourselves in with the employers in the communities we serve and try to help them achieve their training needs. We work hand-in-glove with these companies, and it’s a model that really works because President Cowan helps drive the customer service aspect of it.” “Community colleges nationwide have long been second to none in their ability to respond quickly to the needs of their communities and to adapt to the changing markets,” said Cowan. “It’s the job of all of us working at community 78