Funding roundup

The San Diego Community College District and Rep. Scott Peters (D-California) held a news conference at San Diego Miramar College to announce $975,000 in federal funding to assist in the expansion of classes that offer no-cost textbooks. (Photo: SDCCD)

San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) will expand a free online textbook program using a $975,000 federal grant.

Almost 1,200 classes with free or low-cost textbooks were offered at the district’s four colleges in fall 2020. The Community Funding Project grant will expand previous projects from faculty, staff and the bookstore to develop zero-cost textbook courses.

“The cost of buying textbooks can often be more than our students are paying to take classes at our colleges,” SDCCD Chancellor Carlos Cortez said in a release. “Offering more zero-textbook-cost classes is part of our district’s commitment to making sure all students have access to education.”

Last year, students at San Diego City, Mesa and Miramar colleges saved more than $3 million in educational costs.

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The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) and Los Angeles Mission College (LAMC) will use $10 million from the state to create a regional biotechnology STEM Hub that will increase access to STEM career pathways throughout the San Fernando Valley.

State Assemblywoman Luz Rivas secured funding for the project via the state budget.

“STEM education has had an immense influence on my life — from the moment I fixed a computer in my elementary school class. It led me to a career in electrical engineering, and eventually founding DIY Girls,” Rivas said. “This biotechnology center will open many doors for future students the same way STEM classes did for me in grade school. Investments for educational and employment opportunities should always be a priority for our communities. Not only are we transforming the lives of LAMC students, but we are investing directly into the San Fernando Valley’s future.”

The California Community College Chancellor’s Office has identified biotechnology as one of 10 sectors that has a great need for trained workers, according to LACCD board officials. Job growth for biotech occupations is expected to grow nearly 21% from 2014 to 2028 in California and 14.4% in Los Angeles County.

Alabama

Gadsden State Community College’s Upward Bound programs will receive $711,663 collectively over the next year with a commitment for additional funds the following four years. The grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

Gadsden State has Upward Bound programs at its Ayers Campus in Anniston and Wallace Drive Campus.

Arizona

Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) leaders were joined by Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Arizona) on August 8 to announce that the district will receive $1 million in federal Community Project Funding. The money, secured in a House Appropriations bill, will support bioscience program development. 

“Schools like Maricopa Community Colleges give our students the tools that could help them find the next scientific breakthrough or discover lifesaving cures — and they attract companies who are looking for a highly skilled and developed workforce,” Stanton said.

The funding announcement was held at the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation LabForce, which houses laboratory technician training and upskilling programs, as well as incubation space for bioscience entrepreneurs across Maricopa County.

Rep. Greg Stanton (center) and Maricopa County Community College District leaders gathered at the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation LabForce to announce $1 million in federal funding to MCCCD. (Photo: MCCCD)

Florida

Lake-Sumter State College (LSSC) received $85,000 from Duke Energy to support a new renewable energy certificate program and student scholarships.

The certificate will build off the electricity knowledge offered in the college’s Lineworker Boot Camp and include training in three key areas: photovoltaic systems (solar panels) design and placement; photovoltaic systems installation, operation, and maintenance; and energy storage systems.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has awarded nearly $1.6 million to Tallahassee Community College (TCC) through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to enhance workforce education opportunities in the healthcare industry.

TCC will use the funds to expand its surgical technology, dental hygiene and dental assisting programs by purchasing new equipment to enroll and train students in these programs.

“The earning potential of graduates from Florida’s career and technical education programs rivals — if not sometimes surpasses — university degree holders, without the burden of debt,” said Henry Mack, senior chancellor at the Florida Department of Education. “Workforce programs like TCC’s dental hygiene and surgical technology programs are in high demand and can result in immediate employment. This additional investment is a recognition of the quality of our state colleges and their ability to train Florida’s future workforce, today.”

TCC anticipates it will almost double capacity in its healthcare programs, graduating nearly 1,300 residents by project’s end.

TCC also has received $500,000 from Sunshine Health to build on the success of the Gadsden Connect initiative, a pilot project that launched in 2021 with a focus on the shortage of healthcare workers. The program provides scholarships to local residents who meet the eligibility criteria for nursing assistant and home health aide certification programs.

Kansas

Utility company Evergy donated a mobile trailer to Butler Community College. The college has transformed it into the Butler Promotional Trailer, which showcases what Butler has to offer.

Throughout the academic year, the trailer will make appearances at parades, serve as a live broadcast station at athletic events, and serve as a mobile enrollment center in the area to reach more students.  

Maryland

Hagerstown Community College (HCC) has received a $5.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to fund the renovation of its workforce training center.

It is the largest grant awarded in HCC’s 75-year history, according to HCC President Jim Klauber.

“It is going to transform skilled trades training in Washington County like never before,” he said in a release.

Funding for the recently named D. M. Bowman Family Workforce Training Center comes from the American Rescue Plan, and will boost HCC’s capacity to train and prepare students for good-paying jobs in construction and commercial vehicle operation, the college said. It will also house the Barr Construction Institute, operated by the Cumberland Valley Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors.

The grant is being matched with $1.5 million from the Board of Washington County Commissioners. Construction is set to begin in 2023.

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With a $96,121 state grant, Harford Community College will continue programming for the Child Care Career and Professional Development Fund (CCCPDF).

CCCPDF is a tuition-assistance program that allows childcare providers to earn a college education through tuition, fees and materials payments made directly to participating colleges. Participants may earn degrees in early childhood education, elementary education and special education.

The grant comes from the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood.

Harford also has received a grant from the Dresher Foundation to support its Computer Support Technician Academy. 

The academy will help participants gain technical skills, critical thinking skills and communication/customer service skills, equipping them for a career in the IT industry without requiring a degree. The program will use micro-badging to recognize skill-building and offer participants stackable credentials that will help participants grow within the field.

The Dresher Foundation grant will pay for technology upgrades, exam licensing, curriculum development and a career program navigator for students in the program. 

About the Author

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