Reporter’s notebook

Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado (seated left) and Mayor Sylvester Turner sign an MOU on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the city. (Photo: HCC)

  • Houston aims to develop a resilient community
  • A record year for Wake Tech’s fundraising
  • In NYC, demand grows for ESL
  • Promise continues to expand in San Diego

Houston aims to develop a resilient community

On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado signed an MOU for the college to provide “resiliency training” for citizens, employees, small businesses, volunteers and first responders starting this fall.

“Five years back, as we faced the wrath and impacts of Hurricane Harvey, it was a moment of reckoning for us as a city. It spurred us to think more cohesively about response and recovery, and most importantly, it urged us to think about building forward from recovery, from response towards resilience,” Turner said at the August 26 signing.

The agreement opens the door for all aspects of the city’s focus on citizens and employer resilience and connects the college with departments and programs of the city that seek resilience and preparedness for its employees as well as neighborhood and community organizations.

HCC will upskill public and private sector employees across seven resiliency courses: Resiliency 101 + Community Emergency Response Training; Disaster Case Management; Facilities and Infrastructure; Disaster Recovery; Drones, Data Science and Internet of Things; Public Safety and Rescue; and Medical Triage.

The courses will support strengthening skills in business continuity, disaster recovery compliance, project management, team building and communications. Another 30 courses and programs will follow in 2023.

A record year for Wake Tech’s fundraising

The Wake Tech Foundation raised $7.7 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year, exceeding the previous year’s total by $800,000.

The funds supported scholarships for students, upgrades for technology and equipment, and professional development for faculty. Some of the largest donations benefitted biotechnology and automotive technology programs, according to the North Carolina college.

Corporate giving accounted for 83% of the total funds raised, Wake Technical Community College says. Among the largest corporate contributions:

  • WakeMed, UNC Rex and Duke Raleigh: Combined in-kind gifts of health sciences clinical training totaling $1.5 million
  • Eli Lilly: $1.02 million to establish the Lilly Science and Technology Endowment supporting biotechnology/life science programs
  • InstantGMP: All-in-one manufacturing and quality system valued at $305,000 for the biopharmaceutical technology program
  • Axalta Coating Systems: $250,000 to establish the Axalta Collison Repair Enhancement Endowment supporting a new collision repair program
  • FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies: $200,000 for Biotech/Pharma Enhancement Fund and life science scholarships

“We’re especially grateful to companies that partner with Wake Tech to help fill gaps in government funding,” Wake Tech President Scott Ralls said in a release. “These partnerships provide vital support for our training programs while creating a pipeline of skilled technicians that can help companies grow and thrive.”

In addition to corporate donations, the foundation raised $659,000 in individual contributions, including $500,000 in new planned gifts through the Wake Tech Legacy Society.

In NYC, demand grows for ESL

LaGuardia Community College (LCC) reports that enrollment in The English Language Center (TELC) is climbing back to pre-pandemic levels.

Nearly 2,900 students enrolled during TELC’s 2021-2022 academic year — almost two and one-half times the prior year’s enrollment. The program’s enrollment fell by 83% at the onset of the pandemic, according to the college.

What’s behind the increase? LCC — which is the largest provider of ESL instruction in New York City — credits word of mouth, its strong reputation and a new policy of providing foundation scholarships to ESL students, which offers low-income immigrants seeking to learn English scholarships that cover up to 80% of their tuition. LaGuardia is one of the few community colleges nationwide that provide scholarships to non-degree students for ESL, GED and workforce training programs.

“Since non-degree students are not eligible for government student financial aid, the ACE scholarships are a lifeline,” according to an LCC newsletter from the president’s office.

Promise continues to expand in San Diego

The San Diego Community College District saw record-breaking interest in the San Diego Promise with 2,349 students enrolling in the program for fall 2022, which began on August 22, according to the district.

SDCCD this fall received 4,487 applications for the program, which covers up to two years of tuition and fees for eligible students. The new cohort joins 1,400 peers entering their second year of the two-year program.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.