Funding roundup

A grant to Lone Star College will help pay for certification exam fees for LSC-Tomball nursing, surgical, pharmacy and occupational therapy students. (Photo: LSC)

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) has awarded $9.3 million to higher education institutions – including several community colleges – to boost programs that help Texans reskill for the workforce. This is the second round of awards under the Texas Reskilling Support Fund Grant Program. Twenty-five applicants representing 31 institutions and serving 6,100 students received awards in this round.

Among the grantees is Lone Star College (LSC), which received $112,500. The grant will help LSC-North Harris students who have stopped attending college and want to complete a workforce credential in a year or less.

LSC also received a $40,015 grant from the Tomball Regional Health Foundation (TRHF) to cover certification exam fees for 242 LSC-Tomball students in nursing, surgical, pharmacy and occupational therapy.

“This collaboration between Tomball Regional Health Foundation and Lone Star College will continue our goal to improve public health, prevent disease, promote wellness and enhance the general welfare of the citizens,” said Lynn LeBouef, Tomball Hospital Authority CEO and LSC Foundation board treasurer.


Indian River State College (IRSC) will use a $100,000 federal Perkins Grant to establish the IRSC Entrepreneurial Acceleration Revenue Network (EARN). The grant comes via the Florida Department of Education’s Entrepreneurship Education and Training program.

Project EARN will use a three-part approach to cultivate entrepreneurial mindsets. First, IRSC will recruit students ages 16 to 18 to participate in a Young Entrepreneurs’ Boot Camp. Next, IRSC will recruit teachers from partnering school districts to learn how to embed entrepreneurship education into their curriculum. Finally, the college will assist entrepreneurs from its four-county service region with establishing their business and developing long-term success strategies. 

“IRSC aims to assist entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs in establishing and growing their businesses, so that they may become permanent contributors to the overall vitality, diversity and growth of Florida’s economy,” said Prashanth Pilly, business dean at the college.


Students enrolled in Oakton Community College’s cannabis education programs will benefit from an $80,000 donation from Maribis LLC for a new scholarship.

The scholarship is named in memory of Beverly Dineff, the sister of Maribis CEO Laurel Dineff. Beverly Dineff died from peripheral neuropathy, a debilitating illness that mimics multiple sclerosis. Medical cannabis was not yet legal when Beverly battled her illness. 

Related article: A hands-on lab for a growing cannabis industry

Maribis, a dispensary operator in Illinois, donated to Oakton because of its leadership in cannabis education and commitment to help build a trained cannabis workforce.

“We hope this scholarship will make students’ lives easier as they navigate the educational process and achieve their dreams of success,” Laurel Dineff said.


State Fair Community College’s (SFCC) new workforce innovation center is closer to becoming a reality thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation.

The Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center will expand the college’s capacity to meet the growing demand for technical workforce training. SFCC broke ground on the new center in December on the site of the college’s original buildings, affectionately known as Plywood U. The new center will have more lab and classroom space for training in welding, precision machining, industrial technology, leadership and supervisory skills and logistics. It also will house a new pre-apprenticeship program.


Northeast Community College has taken its precision agriculture program on the road, bringing a precision agriculture learning (PAL) simulator around the college’s 20-county service area for educational training. That work will continue – and grow – with the help of a $250,000 grant from the CHS Foundation.

The funding will allow the college to buy additional curriculum and equipment for more hands-on learning opportunities for high school teachers and students.

Northeast began to use the PAL simulator program in 2017 after receiving a $785,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Kylie Penke, agriculture and FFA instructor at Oakland-Craig High School, called the PAL simulator provides easy access to precision agriculture concepts, examples and experiences for her students. Seeing sensors, meters and monitors at work in real-time is invaluable to her students, she said.

“All of the information shared in class starts to fall into place when the students see the monitor simultaneously keeping track of seed spacing, skips and doubles, and how those factors can dramatically affect gross income,” Penke said.

About the Author

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