Funding roundup

Wake Technical Community College is among the first colleges to receive funding through the National Science Foundation's new grant program for STEM education and research at two-year higher education institutions. (Photo: Wake Tech)

Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina has received a $1.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to boost undergraduate research opportunities for STEM students.

The award is Wake Tech’s largest NSF grant to date and comes through the agency’s new Advancing Innovation and Impact in Undergraduate STEM Education at Two-Year Institutions of Higher Education program.

The funds will strengthen the college’s STEM Academic Research & Training (START) program by building paid research laboratory-based internship opportunities with university partners for 50 Wake Tech students per semester. Students will learn from faculty mentors who will receive formal training to help them better mentor START students.

The project also aims to increase access to STEM education for underrepresented populations and increase the number of students who transfer and succeed in STEM bachelor’s degree programs. In addition, Wake Tech will develop a sustainable model for co-curricular apprenticeship-style undergraduate research programs and help build the case for state and donor funding of faculty-mentored research at community colleges across North Carolina.

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Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) will have permanent food pantries on two more campuses thanks in part to a $3,000 donation from the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation.

Permanent food pantries will be established on the college’s Chatham and Harnett main campuses. A pantry already is in place on the Lee Main campus. In addition, CCCC will use the funds to buy food for students in Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties.


Elgin Community College (ECC) is celebrating National Career Technology Month with the addition of a nine-axis computer numeric control (CNC) machine donated by Swiss Automation, Inc. It is valued at more than $175,000.

With the new machine, ECC can now offer “unrivaled” training through its industrial manufacturing technology/computer integrated manufacturing (IMT/CIM) program, said Kyla Wegman, associate dean of sustainability, business and career technology.

“This gift brings ECC close to $1.4 million worth of donations to the IMT/CIM program within the last few years and is invaluable to our students who now have access to state-of-the-art advanced training that gives them a competitive edge as they enter the workforce,” Wegman said.

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A $3.2 million grant from the Decatur Memorial Foundation will help Richland Community College expand its nursing and clinical programs.

Richland and Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH) aim to triple the number of qualified students applying for enrollment into the college’s nursing and healthcare professions programs. The grant will allow Richland to integrate more technology in the classroom, particularly the use of simulation learning. In addition, the college will create at least three faculty positions and four new administrative positions to accommodate the program’s expansion.

Students in the program will have the opportunity to work and learn on the DMH campus with the hope that they will become DMH employees upon program completion.

“The partnership between the hospital and the community college will not only help expand the nursing program at Richland, which benefits both Richland and the hospital, but we are also creating unique educational grant opportunities to remove barriers that many community members face when trying to pursue higher education,” said Julie Bilbrey, executive director of the Decatur Memorial Foundation.


South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) has used a $1.2 million U.S. Education Department grant to start a new program to help residents in three south Louisiana parishes access higher education.

The TRIO Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) grant funded SLCC’s Southern Rural Educational Opportunity Center. Adults in the three parishes will be able to receive a variety of services, including help with enrollment in high school equivalency programs and college, help completing financial aid forms, career guidance, counseling and tutoring.

“Program representatives are on standby to guide adults as they consider the best possible solutions to meet their educational needs and career goals, whether it is enrolling at SLCC or any other college or university in the region,” said Andre Perez, SLCC executive director of academic and strategic initiatives.


Cape Cod Community College can expand its nursing program thanks to a $500,000 commitment from Maureen Wilkens, a long-time donor to the college.

Through this gift, the college will select one nursing faculty member for a two-year term as the Wilkens Endowed Nursing Faculty. It includes a stipend to pursue professional development or research in their field. At the end of the two years, another nursing professor will receive the recognition. The endowment will continue in perpetuity.

“I recognize and value the important work Cape Cod Community College is doing to educate students to become nurses in our community,” Wilkens said. “This is a vitally important field, and I know hospitals and healthcare facilities all over the region, including Cape Cod Healthcare, rely deeply on the talented healthcare professionals the college educates. The nursing faculty are at the center of that education, bringing their immense talent and dedication to their classes every day. I salute them for their important work as educators.”

Wilkens’ gift also will help support the technology and space needs to meet enrollment growth in the nursing program, so more students can be served.

In total, Wilkens has donated $11.2 million to the college. She previously provided significant support in developing modern nursing and dental labs and gave $5 million towards the creation of the new Frank and Maureen Wilkens Science and Engineering Center.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Technical College System (SCTCS) and the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) have announced an $11.5 million partnership to expand career and technical education (CTE) programs and adult education programs, and more scholarships to high-demand technical college programs.

“A ready, skilled workforce is vital for South Carolina’s continued success. Expanding the talent pipeline with these programs is a real win-win,” said South Carolina Technical College System President Tim Hardee.

With $8 million in funding over three years provided by SCTCS from SCDE, five technical colleges have partnered with their 23 area school districts to offer new and strengthen existing dual enrollment programs aligned with industry needs.

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, Piedmont Technical College (PTC) and Technical College of the Lowcountry will receive $1.6 million for this work. Orangeburg-Calhoun will work to increase the number of students entering the workforce or transferring to a four-year college or university by providing licensure and credentialing assistance. PTC will focus on advancing equity in CTE and postsecondary pathway participation through advising, career exploration and added services. And Technical College of the Lowcountry plans to grow a sustainable dual-enrollment program in partnering districts and increase CTE dual enrollment programming.

Other grantees include Northeastern Technical College, which will receive nearly $1 million.

The SCTCS/SCDE partnership also will support the state’s GED by 23 initiative. Through it, the SCTCS and its colleges will work with local adult education programs and instructional staff to fill gaps in workforce preparedness. People who did not complete high school will be recruited into adult education programs and given help to join a career pathway while they earn a GED or a high school diploma.

About the Author

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