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April 28, 2006

Jennifer Fennell
(850) 245-0413

Florida Community College Receives Most Prestigious Award for Adult Education in the Country
Indian River Community College program awarded national 2006 MetLife Community College Excellence Award

TALLAHASSEE — Indian River Community College (IRCC) in Fort Pierce was recently selected as a national winner of the prestigious MetLife Foundation Community College Excellence Award for making great strides in helping low income and minority youth and adults meet their educational and career goals. IRCC is one of only two community colleges in the nation to receive the coveted award, which was presented at the American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention in Long Beach, California on April 23.

"Florida's community colleges pride themselves on providing unprecedented access to higher education for students in typically under-represented populations," said Florida Community College Chancellor David Armstrong. "Indian River Community College is a central player in improving the educational opportunity and economic development of the four-county region they serve and receiving this award validates that what they have worked so hard to create is of great value to the students and families whose lives they impact every day."

In being honored with the 2006 MetLife Award, IRCC becomes one of only six community colleges ever to receive this distinction. The award is presented in recognition of excellence in three areas: effective strategies and practices that benefit under prepared students; implementation of these practices on a large scale across the institution; and improved academic and economic outcomes for students. As the national award winner, IRCC will receive $30,000, which will be awarded to IRCC Adult Education students as college scholarships.

The IRCC Adult Education Division was selected for leadership, innovative programming, and success in meeting the learning needs of low income, first generation in college, immigrant and working students. Targeting those who do not traditionally have access to higher education, the IRCC Adult Education Division provides free GED Preparation, Adult High School, Adult Basic Education/Literacy instruction and English as a Second Language education to over 9,000 students annually at 25 locations throughout the Treasure Coast. IRCC now has the second largest adult education program in the state.

The Florida Community College System received additional recognition during the AACC Annual Convention through a host of speaking requests before the nearly 1,700 attendees by Chancellor Armstrong, Vice Chancellor Judy Bilsky and Associate Vice Chancellor Pat Windham.

Chancellor Armstrong presented on three topics, including the Florida Community College System's effective disaster response during the past several hurricane seasons, the positive impact on all 28 of our community colleges from participation in the national Achieving the Dream initiative, and the importance to all community colleges throughout the country of utilizing Florida's vast amount of state data to improve student access and success.

Vice Chancellor Bilsky was asked to speak on the success of Florida's Educator Preparation Institutes and our System's unique approach of a statewide collaborative model for community college teacher preparation in response to Florida's teacher shortage. Associate Vice Chancellor Windham had the opportunity to present on Florida's databases and accountability processes alongside well-respected national speaker Dr. Clifford Adelman who shared his work on transcript analyses from the U.S. Department of Education's National Education Longitudinal Studies.

The MetLife Foundation established in 1976 by MetLife, supports education, health, cultural and civic programs throughout the United States. The Foundation has contributed more than $90 million to education programs that facilitate change and cultivate effective learning environments at school and at home. For more information, visit