Funding roundup

A $50,000 donation to State Fair Community College Foundation from Citizens-Farmers Bank of Cole Camp supports the building of the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center. (Photo: SFCC)

The Stronger Workforce, Greater Community capital campaign at State Fair Community College (SFCC) received $50,000 from Citizens-Farmers Bank of Cole Camp. The funding will help to build the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center, which will expand the Missouri college’s capacity to meet the growing demand for technical workforce training.  

The capital campaign launched in 2020. SFCC broke ground on the new center in December 2020.

Alabama

Gadsden State Community College’s Cardinal Foundation received a $26,000 donation from Sherry Wofford in memory of her husband, Michael Joe Wofford.  The majority of the donation – $25,000 – is for the endowment, while $1,000 will go toward a scholarship in the fall.

Michael Wofford, who died in December 2020, was a lifelong resident of Gadsden who attended Gadsden State.

“We wanted to do something for students, but I didn’t want to just focus on the city schools or just on the county schools,” Sherry Wofford said. “All of the schools in our area filter into Gadsden State, so I felt like we could help the most at the college. He went to school at Gadsden State, and I think that he would love that we are able to help.”

The Michael Joe Wofford Memorial Scholarship will help a full-time student pursuing a credential at the college.

Sherry Wofford (second from left) presented a $26,000 endowment to Gadsden State President Kathy Murphy (left), Mark Condra, president of the Cardinal Foundation, and Tera Simmons, Gadsden State executive vice president. (Photo: Gadsden State)

Connecticut

Gateway Community College (GCC) will use a $250,000 gift to enhance services at its Counseling & Wellness Center. The donation came from the Amour Propre Fund, Inc., a private charitable organization.

The center provides important professional support services, including personal, career, financial and academic coaching.

“The extraordinary events of the past two years have challenged us to help Gateway fulfill its educational mission at a time when there was a myriad of obstacles facing students, including job loss, mental and physical health, lack of childcare or transportation, food insecurity, housing and inadequate technology,” said GCC Foundation Board Chair Helene Augustine. “This generous contribution will provide resources to help them persist and succeed.”

Iowa

Iowa’s community colleges will use $2 million in federal funding for the College and Career Transition Counselor initiative as a part of the omnibus spending bill signed by President Joe Biden. Indian Hills Community College will administer the funds.

There are already more than 20 college and career transitional counselors in Iowa, helping high school students explore postsecondary options and prepare for careers. The funds will support at least 15 positions and help expand the program, particularly to underserved and rural areas.

“School counselors are stretched thin statewide with large caseloads and growing mental health concerns,” said Emily Shields, executive director of the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees. “This funding will support critical counseling services specific to helping students navigate their futures.”

Massachusetts

Bristol Community College was awarded $2 million by Community Project Funding as part of the annual appropriations package in an omnibus bill. The college will implement the National Offshore Wind Institute (NOWI) with the funding.

NOWI will offer an array of required industry training to prepare the local and regional workforce for careers in the offshore wind industry.

“Offshore wind is the energy of the future and the South Coast is already the national leader,” said Rep. Bill Keating (D-Massachusetts). “This funding will assure that our local workers are trained and ready for the high-paying jobs coming from this expanding industry.” 

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MassBay Community College and Framingham State University will use $600,000 in federal funding to expand the MetroWest Scholars Early Start Program.

The program aims to reach low-income and underrepresented students and families starting in 8th grade by exposing them to in-demand professional fields and career pathways, including business, sociology/criminology, STEM and education. Students can explore college-level courses and earn credit toward a college degree.

The Early Start program has had success in two local public school systems. With the new funding, the program will expand to another school system with a rapidly changing demographic. It will start by serving 60 students at the 8th grade level and scale up over five years to serve 300 students per year in 8th grade through senior year.

Minnesota

The 2022 federal omnibus bill included $2.06 million to support the Advance Greater Minnesota community investment project at South Central College (SCC) and another two-year college in the state. The project aims to improve pathways in advanced manufacturing careers.

Advance Greater Minnesota will help businesses grow their own workforce from within, attract new employees and control the costs associated with training a highly skilled workforce in rural locations. The two colleges will buy mobile equipment to bring training directly to employer locations, as well as equipping their on-campus advanced manufacturing technology labs. The upgrades will make it possible to offer training through accelerated and condensed modules that help participants attain credentials quickly.

North Carolina

A gift of $30,000 will help to create an endowed scholarship at Southwestern Community College (SCC).

First Citizens Bank presented the gift on behalf of the Robert P. Holding Foundation, Inc. Robert Holding was considered instrumental in the founding and development of the bank. He was known for his philanthropy.

“The foundation believes that community colleges are essential to our communities,” said Darren Morton, First Citizens Bank institutional consultant. “The foundation recognizes that education changes lives, and it changes generations and believes that supporting community colleges makes a difference in local communities.”

A donation to Southwestern Community College Foundation will create an endowed scholarship. (Photo: SCC)

Oregon

Portland Community College (PCC) has received an $800,000 grant, thanks to a Congressional appropriation championed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon). The grant will help Portland-area residents train for careers in artificial intelligence (AI).

“This new funding will democratize access to AI technology and help our students, particularly our students from our most marginalized communities, gain leading-edge skills that will lead to good jobs and careers,” said PCC President Mark Mitsui.  

The appropriation will enable PCC to increase capacity of its AI program by hiring faculty and staff, while also modernizing its facilities and acquiring new computers and software for student training. The funds also will help to bring more equity to the AI industry by extending opportunities to students from historically underrepresented communities and to students from across the state by way of remote education.

Texas

El Paso Community College (EPCC) announced the creation of the Joe K. Foster Endowed Scholarship. The endowment was made possible by a $25,000 donation from former Sen. Joe Christie to create this fund in the memory of his dear friend and college supporter, Joe K. Foster, who passed away in 2013.

Both Christie and Foster were instrumental in founding EPCC. In December 1968, Christie formed a steering committee to establish a community college in El Paso, and he made Foster, a prominent business, political and civic leader, his co-chair. Foster served as the first chair of the board of trustees, while Christie worked to secure funding from the Texas legislature. EPCC was established in 1969 and opened its doors to students in 1971.

“There are tens of thousands of El Pasoans who owe Joe Foster for the education they got at the community college, giving them a better shot at life,” Christie said.

Former Sen. Joe Christie (center) presents a check to EPCC in memory of his friend and college supporter, Joe K. Foster. (Photo: EPCC)

Wyoming

Laramie County Community College’s (LCCC) efforts to launch a new advanced manufacturing program received the final piece of funding. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced that the college will receive a $2.3 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant.

The college will use the grant to buy equipment for its new Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Center (AMMC), which will develop a skilled workforce for the advanced and additive manufacturing industries. LCCC is currently renovating 14,200 square feet of campus space into the new home of the center.

“Growing the manufacturing industry is an economic development priority for Cheyenne, Laramie County and Wyoming, and to do that we need to provide a high-quality workforce,” said LCCC President Joe Schaffer. “We are excited to have this final piece of funding in place, allowing us to finalize our plans for the AMMC and continue moving this project forward.”

The EDA grant will be combined with private donations and $3 million in funding approved by Laramie County voters after the county commission included it in a recent special purpose tax election.

About the Author

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