Funding roundup

Southwestern Community College’s new dental assistant program will receive a $500,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. (Photo: SCC)

Southwestern Community College’s (SCC) newest academic program has received a significant boost from the Golden LEAF Foundation. The dental assistant program, which debuts this fall, will receive $500,000 to purchase dental equipment and supplies.

The grant is part of the more than $1.1 million in funding that the Golden LEAF board of directors has awarded this month through the Open Grants Program, which supports job creation and economic investment, workforce preparedness and agriculture.

Students in the new dental assistant program will be able to earn a diploma from the North Carolina college in one year.

“Employers in the area have been asking us to start this program, and we are excited to offer this opportunity to our students because we know this will be a rewarding and fulfilling career for them,” said SCC President Don Tomas.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Broward College more than $450,000 in grant funding for the Drones to Aviation Pathway (DAP) Project. The grant is designed to support the development of a program to increase access to avionics careers for underrepresented students.  

The DAP Project uses the popularity of drones to interest a younger generation in avionics degree pathways, through programs that can lead to careers as pilots or air traffic controllers. The program will allow local students to explore opportunities within the aviation industry and gain valuable skills, licenses and credentials. 

Preparing younger people for these careers is vital. In the U.S., avionics careers have mandated early retirements. Air traffic controllers are required to retire at age 56 and pilots at 65. Thousands of certified pilots are projected to retire annually over the next two decades, underscoring the need for a younger generation of technicians across avionics careers.


Harper College also is a recent NSF grant recipient. The college received a $345,647 Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant to enhance career readiness in uncrewed aerial systems – also known as UAS or drone technology. The college’s project will specifically focus on biological monitoring and resource management.

The integration of UAS technology into the fields of biological monitoring and resource management presents an opportunity to create a pipeline of STEM technicians with skills in drone operations and remote sensing, according to the college. The project also can strengthen Harper’s capacity to serve the UAS workforce needs of its community, region and state.

“This is an emerging technology in the fields of conservation and restoration,” said Crystal Peirce, the project’s co-principal investigator, assistant professor and biology department chair. “Monitoring wildlife populations, examining complex hydrology and aerial surveys of sites are all possible with drones.”

Pierce added, “By focusing on this domain, students in the drone certificate program develop workplace skills and have an opportunity to partner with organizations such as Citizens for Conservation and the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District to solve real-world challenges.”


Harford Community College will use a $491,228 Maryland Department of Labor grant to boost its college adult literacy program.

The funds will allow the college to instruct 457 students in adult basic education, GED and English-as-a-second-language courses.


Two new grants will help Mott Community College support at-risk students.

The Stella & Frederick Loeb Charitable Trust, administered by Huntington Bank, awarded the college $6,500 for food and supplies for the college’s food pantry. A $5,000 grant from Quota International of Flint also will support the food pantry, which is open to all students, regardless of income.


The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Foundation will use a $25,000 grant from Truist Foundation to support the NJCAA Sport Opportunity Grant program over the next three years.

“With this support, we will be able to provide greater opportunities for growth at our member colleges while also being able to provide more roster spots for student-athletes looking to further their education,” said Brian Luckett, NJCAA Foundation executive director.

The foundation assists the growing number of student-athletes interested in two-year degrees, promotes the affordability of the two-year option, and offers the resources needed for student-athletes and member colleges to succeed, according to NJCAA, an affiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges.


Dallas College’s School of Education (SOE) will expand its teacher apprenticeship work thanks to $3.8 million from the U.S. Education Department (ED).

For the past year, Dallas College SOE has collaborated with local school districts to strengthen the teacher pipeline by modeling a hands-on training program used in other fields, such as fast-track apprenticeships in healthcare.

“The model allows candidates to earn their teaching credentials through structured, paid on-the-job learning experiences with mentors, combined with coursework, and can be used to bring additional resources to the table to support the expansion of teacher residencies and overcome a growing teacher shortage,” said SOE Vice Provost Rob DeHaas.

The funding is dedicated to improving student achievement and preparing prospective teachers by helping teachers meet state certification and licensure requirements. SOE will also recruit highly qualified individuals from other fields into the teaching force.

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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