Funding roundup

Columbia State Community College staff distributed copies of "Beloved" to community members as part of its NEA Big Read project. (Photo: Columbia State)

Columbia State Community College has received a $19,300 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant. The Tennesse college’s project will revolve around the book “Beloved” by Toni Morrison.

The NEA Big Read grant supports community reading programs designed to encourage conversation and discovery, all inspired by a book from the NEA Big Read library. 

The Columbia State project kicked off this month with the distribution of free copies of the novel to the public. The college will host book discussions and related events across its campuses and work with local partners, including libraries, on other events. In addition, the South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance will integrate the novel and book discussion in its adult education program for individuals seeking their high school equivalency, as well as their prison re-entry program.

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Southwest Tennessee Community College will use a $225,517 grant from the U.S. Education Department (ED) to support campus-based childcare services for low-income parents.

“Childcare is often the decisive factor in students’ ability to continue their educational opportunities and improve their prospects in life. This grant addresses a critical need, and I am pleased to see this thoughtful investment in our community’s future,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) said in announcing the grant.


Bevill State Community College (BSCC) will use a $199,465 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant to establish a utility vegetation management (UVM) program.

The UVM project will focus on non-credit training for current Alabama State Department of Education agriscience teachers and business and industry employees who wish to upgrade their skills. The project also will feature a credit-bearing, short-term certificate component for local high school students participating in dual enrollment.

BSCC will partner with the Alabama Urban Forestry Association to expand its curriculum to meet area business and industry needs.

“Forestry-related industries in Alabama are among the state’s largest employers. However, utility companies are having a difficult time finding capable, trained employees to maintain utility rights-of-way. With many current employees reaching retirement age, the need is even greater,” said BSCC President Joel Hagood.

The project will serve 100 students and 1,000 workers/trainees by May 2023.

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Enterprise State Community College (ESCC) will use a five-year, $1.16 million ED grant to establish an Educational Opportunity Center (EOC).

The funding will allow ESCC to hire and train EOC staff to identify obstacles participants face and help them create a plan to overcome those obstacles. It also will help adults to obtain a GED.


Texas Southmost College students in workforce programs, such as welding, plumbing and commercial roofing, will have more scholarship opportunities thanks to a $30,000 donation from entrepreneur Steven De La Garza.

De La Garza made the donation in memory of his father, Rodolfo De La Garza, and plans to fund additional scholarships.


Danville Community College (DCC) will receive another five-year federal TRIO Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) grant of $1.4 million to help 1,000 high school seniors, unemployed workers, low-wage workers, and returning high school and college students enter or continue a program of postsecondary education.

The Southern Piedmont Educational Opportunity Center (SP-EOC) serves five counties and has assisted more than 20,000 participants with college access services over 18 years. SP-EOC provides assistance with completing college admission and financial aid or FAFSA applications, academic and career counseling, college search, transfer assistance and more.


A retired Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) graduate is giving back to his alma mater. Retired U.S. Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Jesse L. Klein is providing scholarships for generations of LTC students with his $100,000 pledge to the LTC Foundation.

“Jesse will support students with this generous gift made in honor of LTC faculty and staff members who led him into a successful career after he returned from serving in the U.S. Army. Generations of LTC students will be impacted by his gift,” said LTC Vice President of Advancement Kristy Liphart.

Klein earned associate degrees through LTC as an IT network and computer support specialist in 2014, after completing deployments overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He retired from the military in 2016 after serving 33 years.

He credits his success to faculty members who mentored and guided him.

About the Author

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