NORTHBRIDGE – It’s been nearly three years – and three decades of discussion – since plans for a Quinsigamond Community College satellite campus in the Blackstone Valley were announced. Momentum picked up steam in late 2014 after former state Sen. Richard T. Moore, an Uxbridge Democrat and state Sen. Michael O. Moore, D-Millbury, earmarked $300,000 in the fiscal 2015 appropriation for QCC specifically for establishing such a place.
On Monday, QCC officials held two events announcing the college’s new presence in Whitinsville.
One component is an agreement signed May 12 with nonprofit human services agency Alternatives Unlimited Inc. for an Internet Learning Cafe at the renovated Whitin Mill, 50 Douglas Road. The site will support students who take online courses at QCC and build training opportunities for hospitality and restaurant students, both from QCC and Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School in Upton.
The other partnership, outlined in a memorandum of understanding signed Monday, is support for a physical classroom in the Linwood Mill, 670 Linwood Ave., and resources for the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce’s sponsored advanced manufacturing training program.
“The fact that Quinsig is planting their flag down here is a big, big step,” said Scott Rossiter of Grafton, chairman of an Uxbridge manufacturing company, Lampin Corp. “Now we’ve got to make it work.”
Mr. Rossiter said seven Lampin employees currently trek to QCC’s main campus in Worcester for customized training. “This opportunity for other kinds of training for us is just unbelievable.”
Local business and civic leaders had become concerned since the appropriation announcement in 2014 that efforts for a Blackstone Valley campus had stalled. They feared QCC was focusing its resources instead on establishing a downtown Worcester satellite and building its Southbridge site.