The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding a total of $72 million in grants to fund 116 projects to help rural residents gain access to healthcare and educational opportunities. Among the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grantees are several community colleges.
Carteret Community College in North Carolina will receive $960,546 to enhance its existing distance learning program and expand course offerings to include virtual substance abuse certificate programs, suicide prevention, opioid awareness training and increased professional development opportunities to the geographically isolated communities of the North Carolina coast.
South Carolina’s Northeastern Technical College (NETC) will receive two DLT grants totaling $1.6 million. Both grants will go toward purchasing and installing interactive videoconferencing equipment in the college’s service area. One location receiving equipment is Evans Correctional Institution, which will allow NETC to provide complete college and technical programs to prepare inmates for careers after their release from incarceration with the goal of reducing recidivism.
Navarro College in Texas will use its $132,800 grant to implement video conferencing for dual-credit students at rural high schools and to establish the Navarro College Mexia Campus as a hub for rural students to participate in distance learning programs. The college also will install a laptop kiosk at the Mexia State Supported Living Center to increase access for employees of the facility to Navarro College courses and programs.
A full list of grantees is available here.
Miami Dade College (MDC) will use a $2.3 million grant to provide scholarships to students in career and technical education programs. The funds came through the CARES Act Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.
MDC has partnered with the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) for a new workforce education initiative called Get There Florida aimed at raising awareness about short-term career and technical education programs, often referred to as CTE. The statewide initiative is highlighting CTE programs at nearly 70 institutions across the state, including MDC.
Tallahassee Community College’s (TCC’s) TCC2WORK Be Essential program received a boost with $374,014 in GEER funding. The program addresses rising unemployment and helps those affected to gain the skills needed to be marketable quickly.
With the funding, TCC also will work with community partners to launch the first-of-its-kind community reemployment plan to assist local nonprofits overwhelmed with providing services to the newly unemployed resident.
In addition to the GEER funding, the college is directing $93,503 in CARES Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds toward the project.
Greenville Technical College (GTC) will use a $2.1 million U.S. Education Department (ED) Title III grant to expand access to advising for students. The goal of the five-year grant is to increase persistence and retention rates for first-time students by 20 percent over the funding period.
GTC will provide students with intensive advising to assist with enrollment and success. A dedicated advisor will monitor each participant’s progress, tracking grades and providing support when indicated. Participating students can tap financial literacy education, a career development program and internal internships. The college also will expand emergency initiatives for students, including the college’s food pantry.
“Enrolling students is not enough,” said GTC President Keith Miller. “Our mission is to transform lives through education, and that means we want to give all who enroll every chance of success. Title III funding will go a long way toward strengthening our services for first-time students and supporting them from the initial semester to graduation.”
Tri-County Technical College (TCTC) can increase support for student parents thanks to a $378,680 Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant from ED. The four-year grant aims to increase college retention and completion rates for low-income student parents by providing them with access to affordable and flexible child care services.
“Lack of affordable childcare presents a significant barrier for students, especially those who are single and first-generation,” said TCTC President Galen DeHay. “The CCAMPIS grant will go a long way in helping to ensure our most vulnerable students have an opportunity to remain in school and earn their credential.”
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (DSLCC), in partnership with Total Action for Progress (TAP), will launch Appalachian CareerForge with the help of a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) initiative. The grant will fund programs to support unemployed workers seeking job training at DSLCC. The training will focus on three high-demand career areas: certified nurse aide, phlebotomy and truck driving.