Funding roundup

Aaron Demerson of the Texas Workforce Commission signs an Education for Texans grant check for College of the Mainland, which will use the funds for its process technology program. (Photo: COM)

A $350,000 grant to College of the Mainland (COM) will help ensure more people are trained for the Gulf Coast region’s petrochemical industry.

The Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant comes from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The grant funds COM’s new glycol separation unit, which replicates the removal of water from natural gas, tasks that are primary educational goals for students in the process technology program.

“At the end of the day, employers need access to a skilled labor force, and this JET grant presented to the College of the Mainland will target the needs of our Texas employers here in the state,” said Aaron Demerson, TWC commissioner representing employers.

COM also recently received a $125,000 donation that will allow more students to participate in the Opening Doors Promise Scholarship program. The matching grant from thebDel Papa Distributing Company means a total of $250,000 toward a permanent endowment for the scholarship, which provides a last-dollar scholarship for high school students.

A $125,000 donation from the Del Papa Distributing Company will boost student participation in the Opening Doors Promise Scholarship program at College of the Mainland. (Photo: COM)

Elsewhere in Texas, Tomball Regional Health Foundation (TRHF) awarded more than $385,000 to the Lone Star College Foundation (LSCF) in support of LSC-Tomball students. It will use the funds to purchase equipment for two new programs — medical lab technician and dental assistant — which will start this fall.

The grant award also will provide scholarships, cover the cost of certification and licensure fees for health occupations students, and pay for required meningitis vaccinations for any student needing assistance with this expense.

TRHF also funded a $100,000 endowment in memory of Lynn LeBouef, a former LSCF board member and TRHF CEO. LSC-Tomball students who are enrolled in the lifePATH program will be eligible to apply for this financial support. LSC-Tomball lifePATH is a four-year comprehensive model of postsecondary educational opportunities for students who have disabilities that affect executive functioning.


As part of its five-year strategic plan, the San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) Foundation set a target to award at least $500,000 in student scholarships annually. This spring, it reached that goal early – three years early.

Recent gifts from the community include $373,000 from the estate of Chuck Obershaw and $24,000 from the estate of Scott Fruchter.

With the help of investment account earnings over the past two years, the foundation’s endowment grew from $3.9 million two years ago to nearly $5.5 million at the end of December 2021. As a result, the foundation was able to increase the number and amounts of the scholarships, noted SBVC Foundation Director Mike Layne. This year, the foundation awarded the Charles Obershaw Scholarship to 30 students, who each received $1,000; previously, just two $500 scholarships were awarded. 

Through funds from the Inland Empire Community Foundation, 54 students received the Molly Adams Scholarship and 20 students were given the Community Foundation Scholarship.


North Idaho College’s (NIC’s) Workforce Training Center has received a $524,170 grant from the Idaho Workforce Development Council. The grant will help establish new registered apprenticeship programs in construction pre-apprenticeship, construction apprenticeship and heavy equipment operator apprenticeship.

“This is the result of partnerships with many community-based employers, who told us there were skills gaps in the construction trades that needed to be bridged,” said Vicki Isakson, the center’s director.

The project aims to enroll 124 participants over a two-year period. NIC Workforce Training Center staff are working closely with industry partners to develop program design, provide subject matter expertise, provide space and equipment and create tools to measure and evaluate the impact the program will have on the local industry. 

New York

Adults with a high school diploma and some or no post-secondary education will soon be able to get free career training at Suffolk County Community College thanks to a $408,157 grant from the State University of New York’s (SUNY) Stay Near Go Far initiative.

The program includes fully online and hybrid instruction in support of regional employers for electronic assemblers, health information associates and ophthalmic technician assistants. Tuition and certification fees are paid for by the grant and instructional materials, career counseling, job placement assistance, and referrals to childcare, transportation and other covered resources will also be provided

“Suffolk County Community College has always and will continue to help build a workforce pipeline that meets the needs of our local employers to fill high-demand, living wage jobs,” President Edward Bonahue said.

South Dakota

Lake Area Technical College’s Archway project just got a big boost. An $8 million gift from First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard will help construct two classroom buildings and an archway at the college.

It’s the largest donation by an industry partner ever presented to Lake Area Tech.

The announcement was made May 6 at the college’s Governor’s Luncheon, a fundraiser for scholarships and campus improvements, featuring South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.

“South Dakota has a growing economy and a strong demand for skilled workers,” First PREMIER Bank President Dave Rozenboom said at the luncheon. “It is essential that we invest in people and invest in education to ensure our workforce capacity continues to grow.”

In addition to the PREMIER gift, Gov. Noem announced an additional one-time funding of $7.5 million to assist with the Archway project. The gifts will allow Lake Area Tech to move forward in late summer with the construction of the Archway project. The 50,000-square-foot building complex will allow space to relocate programs, accommodate growth, and add capacity for 250 additional students. 

“Because of these significant gifts, this facility will be built with no additional financial burden placed on our students,” Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney said. “These gifts will enable us to change lives and launch careers and provide a pathway of success for our graduates that will enrich the state of South Dakota.”

The Archway project at Lake Area Tech will tie the campus together via a walkway connecting a new advanced manufacturing building and a new building that will house the business, financial services and general education.


A new short-term training initiative is coming to Danville Community College’s (DCC) Cybersecurity Center of Excellence thanks to a $850,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

DCC will develop a virtual program, certified by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, providing a 16-week training program of cybersecurity experts. Program participants will be able to earn a certificate program in cybersecurity studies. 

The grant is the result of support from Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, according to the college.

“As Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I know how important it is to defend our nation against rising cyber threats,” Sen. Warner said. “Unfortunately, we’ll be limited in our ability to do that if critical cybersecurity jobs continue to sit unfilled in Virginia and across the country. I am proud to know that this grant will support Danville Community College in helping train Virginia’s cyber workforce and ensure that we have the personnel we need to tackle these 21st century challenges.” 

About the Author

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