Funding roundup

Portland Community College President Adrien Bennings (second from left) accepts the Johnson Charitable Trust Award from JCT Board President Ashley Campion. Also pictured: PCC Director of College Success Programs Josh Laurie, Future Connect Manager Suzanne Hesse and PCC Foundation Executive Director Christina Kline. (Photo: PCC)

Portland Community College’s (PCC) student success programs – Future Connect and PDX Bridge – have received the Johnson Charitable Trust (JCT) Award for Excellence in Service and Leadership, which comes with a $250,000 three-year grant. The funding will support service to marginalized students.

“The JCT Award enables us to continue to serve our most underrepresented students, those with significant trauma, former foster youth, and those with educational barriers,” said Future Connect Manager Suzanne Hesse. “Through cohort-supported reading and writing courses, PCC sets these students up for success.”

Future Connect is a support program for students who identify as first-generation or low-income. Through scholarship money, career guidance and personalized advising, the program helps students build pathways to their futures. It has served nearly 4,000 students since 2011.

Future Connect recently received $170,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation to hire a success coach for the next three years and expand the program to all parts of Washington County.


A $2.9 million grant will help Wallace Community College-Dothan (WCCD) bring more healthcare opportunities to a rural area.

The grant comes from the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) as part of the Alabama Centers for Rural Healthcare Opportunity legislative appropriation. It will facilitate the establishment of the Wiregrass Center for Rural Healthcare Opportunities on the campus of Dale Medical Center in Ozark, Alabama.

The new center will serve as a career and workforce development hub for the high-demand healthcare professions of licensed practical nursing (LPN) and mental health technician (MHT). Through the center, students can first explore healthcare careers, then complete a healthcare training program and earn a certification/licensure, and finally work at a local rural healthcare employer. The center is a community-wide collaboration between the college, healthcare providers, high schools, local government and local and regional workforce/economic developers.

“Every healthcare provider in our region has depended on Wallace Community College to train our workforce over the years,” said Vernon Johnson, Dale Medical Center chief executive officer. “When we had the opportunity to join forces with Wallace Community College to provide an on-site training program for nurses and certified mental health technicians, we jumped at this opportunity.”


University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College’s (UA-PTC) advanced manufacturing program has received a $1.78 million state grant to upgrade and expand the advanced manufacturing program.

“UA-PTC is working to meet employer partners’ continued demand and is poised for growth and modernization. There is an urgent need for equipment and expansion of the advanced manufacturing program,” said Angela Kremers, dean of technical and professional studies. “Due to expanded apprenticeship training and need, the infrastructure to properly train students on equipment that is relevant to industry specific to our region is key.”


Holyoke Community College (HCC) will continue training paraeducators thanks to a $104,000 state grant.

The grant will fund the next two rounds of HCC’s free, seven-week, online paraeducator training program. The 140-hour program blends job readiness and career exploration with education and training specific to the knowledge and skills needed to pass the Professional Certification for Teaching Assistants exam.

In addition to online instruction, the program includes in-person job shadowing and can lead directly to a four-week internship and subsequent employment with one of HCC’s public school system partners.

HCC’s grant partners include Springfield WORKS, MassHire Holyoke, MassHire Springfield, DTA Works and United Way Thrive.

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North Shore Community College (NSCC) students will benefit from a $1.2 million gift from an anonymous donor that designated for three priorities: media and technology infrastructure for the college’s Lynn Campus new anatomy and physiology lab; an endowment to increase student access to experiential learning and internship opportunities; and an endowment to bolster the college’s Here to Help wraparound support program and emergency fund.

The donors selected NSCC through a competitive process. They noted, “Our trustees identified North Shore Community College as a valuable partner in supporting educational opportunities that provide near-term employment in careers with growth potential. NSCC has a clear understanding of what students need to succeed both while attending classes and in finding meaningful employment.”

This is the second-largest philanthropic gift NSCC has ever received.


A recent allocation of $417,000 will boost Rhodes State College’s advanced manufacturing, semiconductors and electric vehicle (EV) technology programs.

The college received a Super RAPIDS (Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills) Award from the Ohio Department of Higher Education. More than 80 educational institutions statewide received awards through the $40 million program to enhance workforce training programs.

“Advanced manufacturing is a central driver of economic growth and interest in our area,” said David Haus, the college’s dean of technology and liberal studies. “The RAPIDS and Super RAPIDS programs have been critical in helping us meet this demand.”

Rhodes State has been a stalwart participant in the RAPIDS grant competitions over the past six years, resulting in a cumulative funding of nearly $500,000. These resources have benefited 1,362 students, enabling more than 500 individuals to acquire industry-recognized credentials in areas such as robotics, pneumatics and hydraulics.

South Carolina

The owners of a shaved ice and dessert shop are using their profits to help Aiken Technical College students achieve their educational goals.

Jack and Judi Poole own Vampire Penguin in downtown North Augusta. In 2022, they wrote a $25,000 check to the college for scholarships. And now, they’ve done it again, bringing the endowed scholarship to $50,000.

In a statement, the Pooles thanked their customers, employees, Aiken Tech and Mayor Briton Williams.

Jack and Judi Poole (second and third from the left), owners of Vampire Penguin, have given two $25,000 checks to Aiken Technical College for student scholarships. (Photo: Vampire Penguin)

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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