Funding roundup

A donation to Athens Technical College from longtime partner Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center will help the college’s nursing program expand and support faculty salaries. (Photo: ATC)

Athens Technical College’s (ATC) nursing program has received a $250,000 donation from Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center that will help to support faculty salaries at the Georgia college and help expand the associate of science in nursing program to the college’s Walton County campus.

With the expansion, the program can enroll up to 30 additional students, bringing the total program up to about 100 students per year.

“Athens Tech nurses not only have the hard skills they need to succeed, but they have the soft skills as well, which make them well-rounded individuals and great employees,” said Michael Burnett, CEO of Piedmont Athens Regional, which has partnered with ATC since 1997.

Alabama

Central Alabama Community College (CACC) has received a $200,000 donation from an anonymous donor who expressed admiration for what CACC has done for the communities and citizens they serve.

“To say I was surprised and overjoyed would be an understatement,” said CACC President Jeff Lynn.

The donor requested to use the funds to help students in need, especially those who may need emergency assistance in completing their programs. The person also wants the funds to assist single parents and older adults who are re-entering the workforce.

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Wallace Community College-Dothan (WCCD) will use a $9,699 grant from the Alabama Community College System Existing Industry Training Program (EITP) to upskill maintenance employees at Wayne Farms in welding fabrication. Trainees will learn basic and advanced welding to properly assess equipment or parts that need repair, reducing equipment downtime and excessive maintenance costs.

Wallace Community College-Dothan will work with Wayne Farms to help upskill employees. (Photo: WCCD)

Iowa

A donation of approximately 330 solar panels will benefit Kirkwood Community College students in the energy production and distribution technologies program.

The donation is from a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. In addition to the solar panels, NextEra Energy Resources will provide other hardware to help students measure electric currents, as well as renewable energy trainers, which are computer-integrated lab systems that demonstrate how wind and solar can work together with batteries to deliver clean, reliable energy.

The college will incorporate the solar panels and test equipment into the curriculum and provide students with hands-on training opportunities in solar panel testing, system design and equipment installation.

Maryland

Hagerstown Community College (HCC) will use a $75,000 grant from the Appalachian Region Commission (ARC) to upgrade and replace dental chairs in the dental hygiene and dental assisting programs. The award augments $75,000 in donations from 12 dental practices in the region.

The new dental chairs ensure students are trained with the most up-to-date equipment. HCC has increased the training capacity of its dental hygiene and dental assisting programs to meet the growing workforce demand in the region.

Massachusetts

When is a food truck not a food truck? When it’s a mobile culinary arts laboratory.

Holyoke Community College (HCC) will use a $147,000 state grant to buy a truck for its culinary arts program that will be used as a mobile kitchen for community outreach and education. 

“It’s not our intention to sell food out of the truck as a means to generate revenue,” HCC professor Warren Leigh said in a release. “We’re not going to set up on the corner and sell tacos and hot dogs. We are absolutely going to cook in it, but the main purpose is to engage the community. At the same time, our students will gain experience in food truck operations.”  

Leigh, co-chair of the culinary arts program, envisions using the mobile food lab to engage community partners such as the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club and area food pantries. Students will meet with representatives from area organizations to create menus based on ingredients of their choice or what might be seasonally available. 

The truck is expected to arrive later this year. The college will work food truck operations into the culinary arts curriculum in both credit and non-credit courses.

Michigan

Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) is taking its services into the community to help underserved adult learners complete a degree or certificate. The college will use a $75,000 from Lumina Foundation and its Prioritizing Adult Community College Enrollment (PACCE) initiative.

KVCC will focus its efforts on increasing community-based recruitment and enrollment, including revamping and developing new online, weekend and evening programs.

“We’re going to strengthen relationships and create new partnerships with our community in our community,” said Paige Eagan, provost and vice president for instruction and student services. “We know that we can’t totally eliminate all barriers, but this grant will help us look at how we can change some of our systems. We can focus more on creating authentic relationships with our students within the community.”

Lumina’s PACCE initiative identifies and supports promising strategies for increasing adult participation — particularly among Black, Hispanic and Latino and Native American students — in credit-bearing and non-credit programs. KVCC was one of 20 community colleges in the country to receive the Lumina grant.

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When Richard A. Sellers passed away in 2012, he left a gift of $100,000 to support scholarships for students at Lansing Community College (LCC). This year, after the passing of his longtime partner, the LCC Foundation received an additional gift of $900,000 from Sellers’ estate.

“We are excited Richard thought of the LCC Foundation as a way to leave his legacy,” said Cathy Zell, executive director of the foundation. “This gift will provide the dream of higher education for many LCC students.”

Sellers was a graduate of Lansing’s Eastern High School, and after receiving a degree in finance and accounting, he began a career in banking, retiring from Comerica Bank where he served as vice president of commercial lending. Sellers felt strongly that education was the solution to many of the problems that society faced.

New York

Westchester Community College’s (WCC’s) financial coaching program will continue for another three years thanks to a $450,000 investment. The funding is part of a $2.5 million grant from JPMorgan Chase to the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE) to develop and launch similar financial coaching programs at selected community colleges.

The program, called the Money Smart Forum, has improved student financial behavior and increased persistence and graduation rates. Now, practices developed at WCC will be replicated at other colleges.

Using the WCC guidebook “Financial Capability through Financial Coaching,” along with coaching and technical assistance, the grant will serve more than 1,200 students at seven community colleges and one HBCU during a three-year period. Students will receive financial coaching, which has shown to improve academic performance, reduce time to graduation and improve lifelong financial health.

“Over 5,000 students at WCC have taken advantage of financial wellness programs, and we look forward to promoting economic advancement for thousands more of our students in the years to come,” said WCC President Belinda Miles.

Washington

Thanks to a $232,500 Washington State Department of Commerce grant, Highline College can offer a new 19-credit certificate this spring to help those experiencing homelessness in the Puget Sound area.

Highline College and Catholic Community Services will partner to help homeless individuals begin on a path toward self-sufficiency. Dubbed the Housing & Shelter Facility Operations certificate, the goal of the certificate is to help homeless individuals by providing career-wage jobs in the hotel janitorial and maintenance sector. 

“We are looking at career pathways. Period,” said Justin Taillon, an instructor and head of Highline’s hospitality and tourism management department. 

Catholic Community Services will work to connect people who are homeless and already living in local hotels with the college. Once enrolled at Highline, students can earn the certificate in one to three quarters. The certificate is a combination of human services and hospitality and tourism management courses that prepare students to work in hotels.

At least six hotels have agreed to work with the college to hire students once they complete the certificate program. 

About the Author

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