Funding roundup

MassBay Community College students in the computer lab. The college received a grant to increase the number of students pursuing degrees in computer science-related fields. (Photo: MassBay)

In Massachusetts, MassBay Community College will use a $210,351 state grant to increase the number of underrepresented and underserved students pursuing degrees in computer science-related fields. The college will collaborate with Framingham State University (FSU) and a local high school and technical school.

This initiative aims to enroll 50 teen-age students who are black, Latinx and female into early college courses at MassBay and FSU, while providing academic and career coaching at no cost to the students. They also can participate with their parents in free, hands-on workshops. In addition, MassBay and FSU will work with their current first-year, undecided college students to interest them in a computer science-related major.


Norco College is on track to improve completion rates of Hispanic students thanks to a five-year, $2.75 million federal grant.

The funding will help the college to increase Hispanic and low-income student retention and graduation by implementing the guided pathways model. It also aims to increase low-income enrollment and access through coordination of equity-related programs, and implement professional development around guided pathways and an equity framework to foster a culture of ongoing improvement.

“This grant enables us to advance the college in scaling best practices for the institutional reform necessary to support student access, equity and success, particularly for our Hispanic students, who make up 58 percent of our population,” said Interim President Monica Green.


Morgan Community College (MCC) has received a five-year, $3 million U.S. Education Department Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions grant. The funding will go toward new staff for advising and other service to students.

MCC’s grant program – SUCCESS (Supporting a College Culture of Equity for Student Success) – includes four primary activities: intrusive advising, supplemental instruction and tutoring, summer bridge opportunities and professional development.

In addition, beginning in fall 2021, the grant will provide a dollar-for-dollar match to establish a $300,000 endowment to ensure continuity of service and provide financial assistance to students.


Northwest Florida State College President Devin Stephenson and his wife, Judy, have pledged $15,000 to establish the Etta Stephenson Scholarship Endowment in honor of his mother.

At 92, Etta Stephenson continues to serve full-time in her career role as an executive office specialist and is recognized for her dedication and excellence. She continues to provide philanthropic support to her local two-year college and its athletic program.

“Because of my mother’s dedication to the life-changing power of education, we are creating the Etta Stephenson Scholarship Endowment,” Devin Stephenson said. “Helping students succeed is our primary motivation. We view our work in the community college arena as a calling — a calling to make a difference.”


Rock Valley College received a $1.5 million Workforce Equity Initiative grant from the Illinois Community College Board. With the funding, RVC will provide short-term educational opportunities to underserved and underemployed residents.

The college will provide training that will lead to employment in truck-driving, computer numerical control operation, cold forming and industrial welding. To help them succeed in earning a short-term certificate, students will receive stipends to cover the cost of tuition, fees and materials for courses, as well as wrap-around support services, such as life and career coaching, and financial support for transportation and childcare.

“There have been many discussions in our community recently about the need to address the middle-skills gap,” said RVC President Doug Jensen. “We also are a region where there are over 40,000 residents who do not have a high school diploma, and where our poverty and unemployment rates are higher than the national averages. This workforce equity initiative will allow the college to address those issues as we continue to do our part to help Rockford transform itself into a Top 25 community.”

RVC President Doug Jensen speaks at the announcement of a new grant for the college. (Photo: RVC)

New York

Monroe Community College (MCC) has received a $4.4 million grant from the Office of Naval Research for the college’s Defense Engineering Education Program in Optics (DEEP OPS). This program will increase the national optics workforce through training programs that will prepare students for high-demand jobs that support the Department of Defense.

During its initial three-year period, the program will affect at least 3,000 high school students, college students, apprentices and incumbent workers, and will provide professional development to high school teachers and MCC faculty. In addition, DEEP OPS will establish 150 apprenticeships and 30 industry sponsors to help build greater community awareness of these career opportunities.

“With 98 percent of these jobs currently going unfilled in our region, it’s more important than ever that we strengthen our workforce development initiatives and help students prepare for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Rep. Joe Morelle (D-New York), who announced the grant this week.

North Carolina

Electrical lineworker students at CFCC. (Photo: Will Page)

Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) will expand its electrical lineworker training program using a $633,408 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

“It’s not for everyone. It’s hard work, and the conditions can be challenging, but CFCC’s program is top-notch,” said John Downing, CFCC dean of continuing education. “We are training these students to work smart and safe. After 10 weeks, they can graduate from CFCC and step into an important, high-paying career.”

There have been 144 graduates from CFCC’s electrical lineworker program since it began in June 2018.

Wake Tech Community College can expand its efforts to combat food insecurity thanks to a $125,000 gift from Food Lion.

In addition to the monetary gift, more than 30 local Food Lion associates, along with community food bank partners, helped renovate and stock Wake Tech’s five food pantries. Food Lion also hosted a one-day, pop-up produce market on the Scott Northern Wake campus.


Columbus State Community College garnered a $1 million investment from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to provide students with the necessary education and skills to secure well-paying, high-demand jobs in technology-related fields in central Ohio.

With the funds, Columbus State will create courses and resources to align with the skills, credentials and work experiences that employers in the region need. Specifically, the funds will help expand the college’s ability to serve as a workforce intermediary to train students and connect them with in-demand IT roles, including data analytics, cybersecurity and software development. The work will support Columbus State’s engagement with area high schools to credential educators to teach College Credit Plus IT coursework through the state’s tuition-free college access program for secondary students.

Since 2014, the firm has invested $2.5 million in career pathways programs at Columbus State.


Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) has a new president and a newly endowed fund. Roger Davis was inaugurated last week as the ninth president of CCBC. The ceremony was followed by a fundraising gala, which raised $103,000 for the new President’s Excellence Fund. The fund allows the college to allocate donations where they are needed most.

HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, received support for its Gettysburg Campus Fund for Excellence in Mechatronics through a $25,000 grant from the Adams County Community Foundation. The grant will help buy equipment for the college’s robotics lab at the Gettysburg Campus, which will allow the campus to offer industrial robotics classes.

A new grant will support the purchase of an additional robot for HACC’s mechatronics program at the Gettysburg Campus. (Photo: HACC)


The Austin Community College District (ACC) has received a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a new national biotechnology education center to address the rapidly growing need for skilled technicians.

The InnovATEBIO National Biotechnology Education Center will consolidate several biotech education projects into a national network to share best practices and expand research opportunities for students at two-year institutions.

“This center will transform the educational landscape,” said AACC President Richard Rhodes. “Our students gain early research experience, hands-on training and marketable skills that employers are looking for.”

Biotechnology is one of the fastest-growing industries in central Texas and across the nation. Industry companies comprise almost 30 percent of Austin’s life science cluster, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

The InnovATEBIO Center will build a national network of educators, students, alumni and industry partners, including incubators, trade organizations, and professional societies to develop and share best practices in biotechnology workforce development. Community college partners include:

Madison College (Wisconsin)


The Virginia Community College System (VCCS), using a $350,000 grant from Lumina Foundation, will work to help more people leverage earned workforce credentials for credit in academic programs. Making these pathways easier to understand and use will help adult learners reach the next step in their career journey.

Lumina’s All Learning Counts initiative will support VCCS to ensure that knowledge, skills and abilities gained outside of formal higher education — through work, military and other experiences — is applied toward programs leading to credentials of value and to better jobs and careers.

Among the other Lumina grantees are Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, whose work will involve several community colleges, and Wisconsin’s Nicolet College.

About the Author

Tabitha Whissemore
is a contributor to Community College Daily and managing editor of AACC's Community College Journal.