Funding roundup

Bergen Community College STEM students work on a solar energy project. A new grant to Bergen will expand educational programs centered around environmental sustainability and equity. (Photo: Bergen)

A $10,000 grant will power Bergen Community College’s environmental justice and sustainability program. The Infiniti Equity Fund, a renewable energy advocacy and development organization, selected Bergen for its inaugural grant available to New Jersey nonprofits.

With the funding, a cohort of Bergen STEM students will have opportunities to participate in programs centered around environmental sustainability and equity. Students completing the program will earn certifications as Infiniti Scholars.

Arizona

The 21 Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) in Arizona got a financial boost from the Helios Education Foundation, which has awarded a $100,000 one-year planning grant to the Arizona Hispanic Serving Institutions Consortium.

The grant will help the fledgling consortium build a strong foundation, establish a focused plan of action, support swift and intentional movement from ideation to implementation, and produce recommendations that will be presented to Arizona leaders. The grant also will support input gathering and a planning process, cataloging and disseminating evidence-based practices, launching an inaugural summit and identifying implementation priorities moving forward.

“Addressing the Latinx opportunity gap is crucial not only to the success of HSI community colleges but Arizona as a whole,” said Rey Rivera, Estrella Mountain Community College president and consortium cofounder. “This consortium will help unite HSIs across the state in the collective pursuit of increasing educational attainment with our youngest and most populous demographic for the betterment of Arizona.”

Illinois

Oakton Community College next month will formally dedicate its PharmaCann Cannabis Cultivation Lab, which was made possible by PharmaCann’s $600,000 donation to the Oakton Educational Foundation.

The 2,900-square lab on Oakton’s Des Plaines campus includes three grow rooms with humidity, temperature, aeration and security controls. The space has allowed Oakton to expand its cannabis curriculum with the introduction of a 12-credit hour cannabis cultivation certificate program.

The donation also is funding a student scholarship for cannabis education programs.

Maryland

Montgomery College, Prince George’s Community College and another local community college have received a total of $250,000 from Pepco to support scholarships, teacher training and curriculum development with the goal of educating the future energy workforce.

The funding is part of Pepco’s Community Scholars Program, which provides gap funding for limited- and moderate-income community residents pursuing degrees in energy related fields.

Ready for Pell grants

Ascendium and Jobs for the Future (JFF) announced 22 new grant partners for Ascendium’s $4.7 million Ready for Pell postsecondary education in prison initiative. Ready for Pell aims to strengthen and refine postsecondary education in prison programs ahead of the restoration of Pell grants for incarcerated learners in the 2023-24 school year.

Programs will be developed or updated using evidence-based best practices.

Among the grant partners is Sinclair Community College in Ohio. Sinclair will receive up to $120,000 in funding to expand its advanced job training (AJT) program, which provides postsecondary education and related programming to individuals incarcerated through the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

Enrollment in Sinclair’s prison education program more than doubled from 2020 to 2021. More than 5,000 incarcerated individuals are enrolled in college courses through the AJT program, which will be updated to include associate of applied science degrees that lead to bachelor’s degrees, associate of applied arts degrees, and associate of technical study degrees.

Amarillo College (AC) will receive a $100,000 Ready for Pell grant.

“We’ve had an existing program in place for a while, but this seed money lets us bring it to scale, establish a framework, and expand our program offerings for when Pell Grants for prisoners are restored,” said David Hall, associate dean of technical education at AC.

Currently, AC offers its diesel technology curriculum to prisoners at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Clements Unit in Amarillo, where nine students received diplomas in 2021 and 14 more are near the program’s midpoint. AC is planning to offer HVAC classes next fall.

With the grant funding, AC will hire a coordinator and be able to offer services such as academic advising and financial aid to program participants.

“The addition of Pell should instantly change our numbers and that’s good because it will allow us to offer educational pathways in high-demand occupations – here and across the state,” Hall said.

And in New York, Herkimer County Community College will use its $120,000 grant to expand degree offerings and extend student-services opportunities. The college has been a member of the Hamilton-Herkimer College in Prison consortium since 2017 and currently offers a Liberal Arts & Sciences: General Studies associate of arts degree for men incarcerated in the Mohawk Correctional and Mid-State Correctional facilities.

Herkimer College plans to grow programming to include associate degrees in psychology and small business management. The Ready for Pell grant also will expand the college’s capacity to implement new processes and develop a communications system for proposed workshops such as career exploration and financial literacy.

About the Author

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