Funding roundup

Palm Beach State College President Ava L. Parker (center) cuts the ribbon on the college’s newly named Oristano Center for Innovation in Health Sciences. The college received a $1.7 million gift from the Oristano family. (Photo: PBSC)

Palm Beach State College (PBSC) recently unveiled the newly named Oristano Center for Innovation in Health Sciences at the Florida college’s Palm Beach Gardens campus. The naming follows a $1.7 million gift to the Foundation for Palm Beach State from the Oristano family, including more than $1 million for the Joan and Victor Oristano Endowed Scholarship for health sciences students.  

The center, which opened in 2021 in a refurbished building, houses the technology needed to train students in the ophthalmic medical technology and diagnostic medical sonography programs.

At the ceremony, Michael Oristano, son of Joan and Victor, recalled his father’s commitment to community.

“My father would be over the moon with all of this, seeing his name on this building dedicated to innovative healthcare,” he said. “He was a visionary and a champion for community health, for which he was quite passionate. It’s the Oristano name, but it’s his legacy.”

Education Design Lab grants

Eighteen community colleges are part of the third cohort of Education Design Lab’s Community College Growth Engine Fund initiative to grow micro-pathways. Each of the colleges will receive $50,000 to help with this work.

Among the colleges is Rockland Community College, which will design micro-pathways in advanced manufacturing, cannabis, healthcare and more.

“Working alongside our community college partners from Westchester, Ulster, Orange, Dutchess and Sullivan counties, Rockland Community College will leverage this opportunity to work with employers, faculty and learners to co-design more responsive workforce development training opportunities that are more portable, flexible, affordable, stackable and visible,” said Kevin Stump, vice president of economic mobility + workforce innovation for RCC.


Allegany College of Maryland will use a $480,255 grant from the Rural Maryland Economic Development Fund to implement a weekend hybrid nursing program and to purchase clinical simulation equipment. The program, which debuts this fall, partners asynchronous online classes with in-person skills and lab instruction or clinical commitments every Saturday for up to 15 weeks each semester. 

“This program is 100% for those who’ve paused their dream of becoming a nurse because of circumstance, current work commitments, or responsibilities to their families,” said Rick Cooper, associate dean and nursing program administrator.

Cooper expects the nursing program, which currently enrolls 600 students, to double in size by the 2024-25 academic year. 


St. Clair County Community College (SC4) has received $955,000 in federal funds appropriated by Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) to support STEM learning opportunities at SC4’s Challenger Learning Center and Experience Center.

The center offers a space-themed, simulated learning and role-playing experience that teaches visitors about STEM careers and cultivates problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills.

New Jersey

With a $75,000 grant, Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) will create a weeklong summer immersion program focusing on exploring careers in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. The grant comes from the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL).

RVCC’s residential 2023 NIIMBL Summer eXperience program, which will serve African American/Black, Latinx and Native American college students, is designed to build self-confidence in STEM education, motivate students to pursue careers in biomanufacturing or the life sciences and provide networking opportunities with industry professionals.

New York

LaGuardia Community College/CUNY will continue to support the mental health and wellness of students thanks to a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The purpose of the Mental Health Literacy & Crisis Intervention grant project is to expand and strengthen the “safety net” for those at risk for mental health concerns by teaching how to intervene effectively and/or de-escalate a mental health-related crisis. Faculty, staff and students at LaGuardia will be trained to identify, understand and respond to signs of someone developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis, including suicide.

A special focus will be on high-risk populations, including LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, international and culturally diverse students, African-American students and student veterans.

North Carolina

Lenoir Community College has received a $1 million grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation that will go toward new training equipment and professional development to support aviation programs and a new Aviation Center for Excellence at the North Carolina Global TransPark.

The center will house aviation, aircraft maintenance and advanced manufacturing programs, among other programs. It also will house an Aviation Academy that will serve high school students in local counties.

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For the second year, the Robert P. Holding Foundation has invested in Southwestern Community College’s (SCC) students. The foundation’s new $20,000 gift will be added to the First Citizens Bank Endowed Scholarship Fund that was established last year.

“This generosity is going to change many lives in the years ahead, and that will have a positive impact on the communities we serve in Western North Carolina,” said SCC Foundation Director Brett Woods.

Southwestern Community College representatives accept a $20,000 donation from the Robert P. Holding Foundation. (Photo: SCC)


Tidewater Community College’s Skilled Trades Academy can boost programming thanks to a $75,000 gift. The donation was presented by Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC) President Shawn Avery during a recent event recognizing the partnership between TCC and HRWC.  

The academy offers hands-on, short-term instruction for jobs in welding, sheet metal, pipefitting, roofing, marine coating and more. The new program offerings will include electric vehicle technical, logistics, ship fitter and heavy equipment operator. 

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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