NorthEast REgion

Montgomery County Community College

Program Details

Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Program Contact: Nichole Kang
(484) 808-4223

About the Program

The POWER (Partnership on Work Enrichment & Readiness) Program is an educational program that complements mental health and drug and alcohol services by preparing students for College or  employment. It provides a structured environment that encourages peer support and professional advising to help approximately 25 students each semester develop the skills and attitudes necessary to make life changes and reach their goals.

The POWER staff consists of 4 part time staff, 1 peer mentor, and 2 instructional faculty and holds a dedicated space in one of the college’s main academic buildings. 

The POWER program was designed and developed in 2005 to target County residents with a chronic psychiatric diagnosis or dual diagnosis (co-occurring disorders, such as substance abuse along with a mental illness).  Students in the program represent a diverse cross-section in ethnicity, age, income, educational levels and learning styles.  Students are referred to the program by a public mental health/drug and alcohol service provider, individual therapists or through self-referral.

The program introduces students to College-level coursework, prepares them for employmen, and teaches them methods to balance school, work and life.  Traditionally, consumers of mental health services do not have a strong sense of self and do not live a goal-oriented life.  POWER reaches out to an isolated segment of the population to integrate them into college life, becoming an important influence on decreasing the stigma of mental illness on the campus and in the community.

The design of POWER is based on the recovery model of mental health services.

POWER is offered as a free a two-credit course in Strategies for College Success at Montgomery County Community College.  The twice weekly, 90-minute class, emphasizes the following topics: Study Skills and Work Habits; Balancing School, Work and Life; Professionalism;  Career Assessment; Communication  and Public Speaking; Ethics; Time Management; Teamwork; Use of Technology and Computer Skills; Decision-making and Goal Setting; Interviewing, Job Searching, and Resume Writing.  The POWER program is open to anybody who has been diagnosed with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders, and able to complete college level work.
Upon completion of the power program, students may continue to attend weekly power plus classes during the semester. Two classes are now offered for continued support: Power plus Education, for those continuing to enroll in college courses, and Power plus Employment, for those students seeking volunteer and/or job opportunities. These classes have been structured so that one can attend both power plus classes weekly.

Key to the success of the POWER program is student retention throughout the semester. To ensure regular attendance, the program is offered free-of-charge to participants.  Travel stipends and textbook vouchers are available for the students. The POWER program is a unique project that is not available at any other community colleges in Pennsylvania.

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The Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) is the only association exclusively representing collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) and collegiate recovery communities (CRCs), the faculty and staff who support them, and the students who represent them. ARHE provides the education, resources, and community connection needed to help change the trajectory of recovering student’s lives. We are a network of professionals, administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents and policy makers.

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A Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) is a college or university-provided program that includes a supportive environment within the campus culture. CRPs reinforce the decision to engage in a lifestyle of recovery from addiction/substance use disorder. It is designed to provide an educational opportunity alongside recovery supports to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other.