Funding roundup

Ten community colleges are the first to receive grants as part of the Johnson Controls Community College Partnership Program. Over the next five years, Johnson Controls will give $15 million to help expand community college associate degree and certificate programs in HVAC, fire and security and digital building automation systems.

Among the grant recipients is Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), which will use its $63,860 grant to hire additional faculty and grow a guided mentoring program featuring Johnson Controls employees supporting peer mentoring and career counseling.

“At CCBC, workforce development is one of our top priorities. We look forward to partnering with Johnson Controls to provide CCBC students with the education and training needed to have a successful career in HVAC and related in-demand skilled trades,” CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis said.

A $100,000 grant to Milwaukee Area Technical College in Wisconsin will upgrade the HVAC lab used by dual-enrollment students and provide those students with a success coach.

And at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC), a $95,000 grant will help to purchase additional lab equipment for the building automation systems program and to upgrade hands-on training simulators. The college also plans to refresh its commercial refrigeration and welding programs and expand its sustainable technologies technical certificate program.

“The focus of what we do at Georgia Piedmont Tech is workforce development. This partnership with Johnson Controls strengthens the bond between industry and education and helps pave the way for students to learn the skills necessary to enter these growing industries,” said Cory Thompson, executive director of institutional advancement and the GPTC Foundation.


Washtenaw Community College (WCC) has received a $1.4 million U.S. Education Department grant to support incoming freshmen through the new Alpha Scholars program.

The program will offer opportunities to connect students with support services, as well as with peers who share career goals and common interests. Students will develop both an academic and career plan and participate in academic, professional and social experiences designed to help them succeed.

“We are excited to announce this grant that enables us to drive student success in new ways, designing programs that wrap additional layers of support around our students and provide them with a close community of peers who they’ll journey through college with,” said WCC President Rose Bellanca.


A new project at Hinds Community College to strengthen students’ math performance received a $313,960 grant from the National Science Foundation. The project aims to increase the number of African-Americans in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce and careers.


Columbus State Community College added three new simulation rig ambulances to its EMS program thanks to State Rapid Grants providing nearly $28,000 for each of the rigs. Additional grant funding provided just over $14,000 for other equipment, such as stretchers.

The sim-rigs are replicas of the inside of ambulances. They were constructed in a lab classroom where the EMS program is based. Previously, students would place a stretcher in an area surrounded by chairs to act as shelves for medical items that you would need in an ambulance. 

“It is a great opportunity for the students to learn how to provide patient care in a realistic setting they will eventually apply in various emergencies,” said Kevin Hicks, EMS instructor. 


Two more courses at Columbia State Community College will help save students money on textbooks. The college was awarded $60,000 in Tennessee Board of Regents Open Educational Resources (OER) grants to develop OER materials for Introduction to Film and Modern World Literature.

The college previously received OER funding to redesign English Composition I and English Composition II with pilot courses beginning this fall.


A $20,000 grant to Lone Star College-Houston North will help the college bring together literacy and community.

The National Education Association (NEA), in partnership with Arts Midwest, is supporting NEA Big Read projects. These are community reading programs designed to encourage conversation and discovery.

LSC-Houston North will focus on Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street.” The college will host the author in November.


Casper College will receive a $100,000 grant from the John P. Ellbogen Foundation to support adult learners. The newly created Ellbogen Opportunity Scholarship will help students ages 24 and older who enroll in one of 28 workforce programs.

About the Author

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