Minneapolis college working to overcome homelessness and hunger — on campus

Mary Ann Prado of Minneapolis Community and Technical College helps students handle some of the perhaps less typical challenges of college life: homelessness and hunger.

Minneapolis Community and Technical College is a public college with the mission of encouraging students of color and the economically disadvantaged into its downtown classrooms.

The two-year school proudly trumpets its diversity, with new 2010 data showing about 46 percent of the school’s 14,500 learners are nonwhite. Further, more than 48 percent are low income.

To open those doors wider, a special program called the Power of YOU was initiated a few years ago, offering free college tuition and student support services to qualified Minneapolis and St. Paul high school students.

All of which background spells out the need for Mary Ann Prado, a woman with a master’s degree in education who nonetheless — because it’s a short-hand way of describing her job — calls herself the “college social worker.”

Prado is director of resources and referral at MCTC, a woman charged with helping students handle some of the perhaps less typical challenges and crises students face, issues like homelessness and hunger. Such hurdles can force students to drop out of school.

Since spring of 2008, she’s been a one-woman force at MCTC and apparently the only person in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system doing exactly what she does.


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September 27th, 2010

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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