Reporter’s notebook

Fulbright Association launches community college chapter

The Fulbright Association (FA) recently established a chapter dedicated to U.S. community colleges to help raise awareness about the program and encourage more two-year college students and faculty to participate.

“Community colleges are often referred to as ‘democracy’s colleges’ because of their open enrollment, affordability and diversity in student population,” the association said in a release. “Yet, they have been under-represented in the awarding of Fulbright grants. This chapter seeks to raise the profile of community colleges in the Fulbright program and across the world.”

FA noted that nearly 1,100 U.S. community colleges serve nearly 40% of all U.S. undergraduates including 53% of Native American, 48% of Hispanic, 34% of Asian Pacific Islander, and 39% of African American students.

The Fulbright Program, which is run by the U.S. State Department, is an international academic exchange program that aims to increase mutual understanding and support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the U.S. and people of other countries. FA is a national membership association of Fulbright grantees that comprises 57 chapters representing around 6,500 Fulbright alumni.

Communities selected to help adult learners of color

Nine communities will participate in a national program to strengthen chamber of commerce partnerships with community colleges and community organizations to increase the number of adult learners of color earning an industry-relevant credential or degree.

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Foundation this month announced the communities that will join the second cohort of the program.

“Partnerships between chambers of commerce and community colleges have the potential to significantly increase the number of adult learners of color completing high-quality, relevant short-term credentials and degrees,” the ACCE Foundation said in a release. “Given the current spotlight on upskilling and the resources being reallocated to fund short-term credentials, now is the time to capitalize on the potential for these partnerships.”

The selected organizations will team with a community college partner and a community partner to identify the barriers to credential attainment and create “quick-win” solutions to address those challenges, according to officials. The teams will join groups from other regions to tap subject matter experts, receive customized technical assistance and engage in peer-to-peer learning activities to create a strategy to continue collaboration after the grants end.

Lumina Foundation provided the funding to jumpstart the partnerships, which the foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) identified.

The communities that include partnering AACC-member community colleges are:

Streamlining access to credentials for people with disabilities

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) and the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) announced Wednesday a plan to streamline access to in-demand credentials and jobs for residents with disabilities.

“People with disabilities remain disproportionately unemployed or underemployed in comparison to the general population,” ADRS Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw said in a release. “The goal of the vocational rehabilitation program is to support the business community and the individuals we serve by reducing barriers that keep otherwise qualified candidates on the sideline.”

The department’s Vocational Rehabilitation Service (VRS) college training policy has eliminated most income-based eligibility requirements for individuals participating in VRS programs and who are eligible through ADRS to access educational services at Alabama’s public community and technical colleges. Services include financial assistance with tuition, fees, books and supplies for training in associate degree programs as well as technical, certificate or short-term certificate programs. ADRS also assists colleges with much-needed accommodations to help ADRS participants successfully achieve in the classroom.

Residents with disabilities often train at Alabama’s two-year colleges for in-demand careers such as truck driving, healthcare and business management. In addition to training in college programs, the ACCS Innovation Center’s no-cost, rapid Skills for Success training programs are also available.

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.
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