Funding roundup

Ridgewater College’s nondestructive testing program received more than $200,000 in donated equipment and supplies from an Iowa power plant. (Photo: Ridgewater College)

In Minnesota, Ridgewater College’s nondestructive testing technology (NDT) program received nearly $200,000 in equipment and supplies from an Iowa power plant. The donation is from Duane Arnold Energy Center of Iowa. In addition, Curtiss-Wright Nuclear – LMT covering the transportation costs of nearly $3,300.   

The decommissioning of the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant last year presented the opportunity to provide equipment to support education.

“The Duane Arnold Energy Center donation is one of the largest donations our program has ever received, consisting of more than 230 items,” said NDT instructor Jerry Voelker. Some of the items include a radiography system, a low-frequency eddy current pipe scanning system, a portable X-ray tube system, numerous ultrasonic calibration standards, magnetic particle and visual inspection equipment samples, and liquid penetrant materials.

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A $200,000 gift will allow Minnesota State College (MSC) Southeast to provide specialized support for Winona Area Learning Center (WALC) graduates. This gift comes from the Jerry & Patricia Papenfuss Family Fund of the Winona Community Foundation.

The Papenfusses are long-time supporters of the college and wanted to provide opportunities for students who might not otherwise see themselves as collegebound.

“This gift reflects Jerry and Pat’s deep commitment to the community, their belief in the value of career and technical education as a way to prepare learners for a productive life, and their desire to help those who are most in need of having someone believe and invest in them,” said MSC Southeast Interim President Larry Lundblad.

Launching this fall, the Papenfuss Scholars Program will initially support five Winona ALC graduates by covering their college expenses for up to two years above any student aid they receive. Students also will receive a modest stipend to help with living expenses.

“It’s exciting to know that we can have focused conversations with our students about what attending Minnesota State College Southeast can do to help set them up for successful futures and how this gift will help them make their dreams a reality,” said WALC Principal Emily Cassellius.


Aims Community College will use a $518,000 Carl D. Perkins federal grant to purchase equipment for career and technical education courses.

In prior years, Aims used the funding to buy flight and air traffic control simulators for the aviation program, virtual reality trainers for the welding and automotive collision programs, and electric and diesel engine vehicles for students in the automotive program to train on.

Aims also has recently received a number of other grants and donations. They include a $47,807 Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) Matching Student Scholarship grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and $10,000 from the El Pomar Foundation for the college’s Student Emergency Fund.


A $100,000 donation to Oakton Community College will benefit students in the college’s cannabis dispensary and patient care specialist program. The donation from Hatch, a cannabis dispensary, creates a scholarship with award priority going to students with financial need or who have been adversely affected by previous cannabis laws. Besides providing resources for tuition, books and fees, the gift is expected to provide internship opportunities at Hatch for qualified students. 

“We’re thrilled to support qualified social equity students interested in a career in cannabis and perhaps applying for their own dispensary license in the future,” said Hatch President Gary Leff. “We’re proud to be partnering with Oakton given its status as a leader in cannabis education and its commitment to helping to build a trained cannabis workforce.”  

Oakton has recently received several large donations for its growing cannabis-related programs.

Representatives from Hatch present a $100,000 donation to support students in Oakton Community College’s cannabis dispensary and patient care specialist program. (Photo: OCC)


MassBay Community College has received a $79,990 state grant for its Training Resources and Internship Network (TRAIN) grant program. The funds will support long-term unemployed, under-employed and new entrant adult workers who want to enter or reenter the workforce. MassBay will subsidize all costs for 30 students to attend its certified nursing assistant (CNA) program.

 CNA “are in-demand, with local employers reaching out every week to hire our students when they complete our program because they know our graduates have the know-how and compassion to provide excellent care,” said Phara Boyer, MassBay director of corporate partnership and workforce development.

The grant covers all tuition and fees, textbook, uniforms, certification fees and all other required materials, which would typically cost a student approximately $1,400. The CNA program also includes workforce readiness assessment and training including, study skills, time management and career advising. 


Northeast Community College’s Nexus project got a boost with a $50,000 donation from the Gardner Foundation.

The Nexus project includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classroom building, a combined farm operations and large animal-handling facility, a new feedlot and lagoon and other farm structures. Construction on the project began last April and should be done by this fall.

“Agriculture is so important to our area and we are proud to support agriculture education and future agriculture leaders,” said Gardner Foundation President Leslie Bebee. “We hope by investing in our youth they will continue in the agriculture industry and farm operations in Nebraska for many years to come.”

North Carolina

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is now home to the Skill Boss, a state-of-the-art training device, thanks to a $20,000 donation from the Palmer Foundation.

The computerized Skill Boss is a portable, classroom-friendly machine that performs computer-controlled functions aligned with more than 55 skills drawn from the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council’s National Production Standards. The module will help equip graduates of the college’s certified production technician program with skills for in-demand, high-tech manufacturing jobs. It also will offer high school students a robust introduction to advanced manufacturing career options.


Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) received $10,000 from Mid-Atlantic Broadband (MBC) to help increase the community’s access to career training and workforce readiness. PHCC will work in partnership with the Martinsville Henry County Economic Development Corporation to enhance its training programs to keep up with changing industry demands.


Trapper pride was abundant during Northwest College’s (NWC) first Giving Day. During the 24-hour giving blitz held March 25, 464 individuals donated $107,435 in support of scholarships, career and technical education development, the student center, athletics and instructional technology, plus other campus support. 

For every 50 donors, a $5,000 bonus was unlocked and added to the total Giving Day donations. Not only was the original goal of 250 donors nearly doubled, but all five $5,000 bonuses were unlocked early in the evening. Challenge sponsors included Clay and Lynne Cummins of Billings, Montana, Powell Community Foundation, Richard Walsh and Jennifer DeWitt Walsh from Amsterdam, Netherlands, Paul Stock Foundation and Yellowstone Motors. 

“I was really pleased with the response to Giving Day as a first-time venture,” said Shelby Wetzel, executive director of the NWC Foundation. “It seemed to capture people’s emotion and provide them a way to show they care about Northwest.” 

About the Author

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