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First Niagara Donates $100,000 To Norwalk Early College Academy

Representatives from First Niagara Bank present a $100,000 grant to Norwalk Public Schools and Norwalk Community College in support of Norwalk Early College Academy.
Representatives from First Niagara Bank present a $100,000 grant to Norwalk Public Schools and Norwalk Community College in support of Norwalk Early College Academy. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Early College Academy at Norwalk High School has received $100,000 in grants as it begins its first year.

The First Niagara Foundation, the charitable entity of First Niagara Bank, has provided a $50,000 partnership grant to the Norwalk Education Foundation and another $50,000 grant to the Norwalk Community College Foundation, all in support of a joint initiative to establish the Norwalk Early College Academy.

NECA is a collaboration between Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk Community College and the IBM Corp.

Designed for students in Grades 9 to 14, NECA combines elements of high school and college classes along with career mentoring and student internship opportunities, both provided by IBM. Students who graduate from NECA with their college degrees and career-ready will be placed first in line for available jobs at IBM.

The first year of NECA began Aug. 27 with 100 ninth-grade students from throughout the city.

Each student will be jointly enrolled at the high school and Norwalk Community College. Graduates will receive a high school diploma and a no-cost associate’s degree in applied science from NCC.

While first-year NECA students will attend the majority of their classes at the high school, with a limited schedule of classroom work at the NCC campus, they will have access to all of the college’s facilities, including the library, gym and resource centers.

The NECA expects to enroll about 100 new students each successive year reaching a full complement of six cohorts and 600 students by 2019.

“First Niagara is proud to support the NECA students and this unique program that offers them a college degree and strong pathway to a successful career,” said Cathie Schaffer, First Niagara’s tri-state regional president. “We see a lot of value in this innovative model, which is skills-based and offers a curriculum designed in conjunction with the needs of future employers.”

NECA is the first Early College Academy established in Connecticut.

For more information, visit the NECA'S website.

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