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    Thursday, July 18, 2024

    From promoting mental wellness to supporting neurodivergent grads, Mitchell College lays out plans for 2023

    New London ― Mitchell College in 2023 will introduce a post-graduate learning program for neurodivergent people, a few mental wellness programs, and its Digital Innovation Hub for Educational Excellence, according to a press release from the college. The school is also launching new majors and a master-level partnership with the University of Saint Joseph.

    “Mitchell College is committed to being a community of belonging for our broad group of learners,” President Tracy Espy said in a news release. “This is the place where they can come to meet their educational needs, learn other valuable life skills and, through advocacy and support, discover their true potential. Mitchell strives to be a movement in educating a kaleidoscope of learners, not just an institution.”

    Skills Training, Advancement and Individual Readiness (STAIR) is a one- to two-year program that will offer neurodivergent recent graduates ― such as students with autism, ADHD or dyslexia ― additional support through two main components.

    AIM Basics has the goal of developing self-sufficiency through a focus on independent living, career readiness, and social and interpersonal skills. Program Hubs helps graduates focus on either career preparation or graduate school readiness.

    The college’s efforts to support student mental wellness in 2023 include offering the BLOSSOM Project, participating in a Jed Foundation initiative, and raising awareness around problem gaming.

    The BLOSSOM Project aims to help female students set safe boundaries with friends and partners; it will include group workshops and a women’s empowerment event that’s open to the public.

    Mitchell College will participate in an initiative of The Jed Foundation ― a nonprofit focused on emotional health and suicide prevention for young adults ― to evaluate its mental health and substance abuse prevention programs. After finishing a self-assessment, the college will work with The Jed Foundation over the next four years to implement changes.

    The college said it would hold information sessions on problem gaming and training to help staff recognize its signs, thanks to a grant from the Connecticut Council on Problem Gaming and partnerships with local experts.

    Mitchell is also preparing for a January launch of its Digital Innovation Hub for Educational Excellence, which will “upskill” the adult workforce in the region through certifications, badges and credentials in STEM and mental health. It’s located in the library.

    Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, visited the college in April to discuss the $550,000 in federal funding he secured for the DIHEE, and Mitchell received the funding in November. The college hired Karen Bellnier as director of digital innovation to launch and administer the program.

    “The DIHEE marks a new direction for Mitchell College and allows us to meet the learning needs of the adult regional workforce,” Bellnier said in another press release last month. “Learners will engage with micro-credential learning, dubbed ‘the Mitchell Micro,’ to prepare to earn industry certifications and strengthen business skills.”

    Courtney said in a weekly newsletter last month, “Dr. Espy and her team are focused on ensuring Mitchell College remains part of training-up the next generation of qualified medical professionals, engineers, programmers, and other in demand professions, and that’s exactly what the new Digital Innovation and STEM Hub will be focused on.”

    These announcements come as Mitchell has launched a new five-year strategic plan, called “Illuminating Mitchell College’s Future: A Bold Plan for a Kaleidoscope of Learners.”

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