Community Relations

May 2022
In response to a pandemic that has disrupted lives and derailed plans for so many in its service district, Indian River State College (IRSC) has made its most significant investment ever in eliminating barriers to higher education. The college introduced the IRSC Promise in March at a special assembly for Fort Pierce Central High School seniors. Funded by the IRSC Foundation, the Promise is a tuition-paid program for qualifying 2022 high school graduates from public and public charter schools in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties who seek to earn associate degrees at...
January 2022
Students are drawn to the arts through their desire to create, perform, express, and interact with other people. In March 2020, the give and take, central to creating art, was gone. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many students in the visual and performing arts to create in boxes on computer screens with spotty picture resolutions and sound distortions, depending on Internet speed, the weather, devices, and countless other factors. Kirkwood Community College, like numerous other institutions, scrambled to figure out how to get art materials, microphones, speakers, and Internet access to students...
November 2021
This summer, dozens of middle school students in Pittsburgh, including those from underserved communities, discovered that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is fun, that it’s ok to be smart, and that education can offer a path to a brighter future. Through a partnership with Verizon and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) hosted the Verizon Innovation Learning STEM enrichment program. The initiative is part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental, and...
August 2021
The Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU) recently designated Polk State College as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), as the college’s Hispanic student population has reached 26 percent and continues to grow. Additionally, Polk State is now eligible for Title V and HSI STEM federal grant funds that support institutions that enroll large proportions of minority and financially disadvantaged students. The college will apply for these funds through the U.S Department of Education to further support students. Equity and a presence in underserved communities with targeted...
March 2021
Almost half of U.S. community college students responding to the #RealCollege survey conducted by The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice indicated that they had experienced food insecurity within the 30 days before completing the survey (Goldrick-Rab et al., 2019). In response, an increasing number of community colleges are working to eliminate food insecurity for students and their families. Through programs such as on-campus food pantries, community gardens, farmers’ markets, and food scholarships, colleges are finding solutions for students and, in some cases, staff who are...
December 2020
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the bars, cafés, and eateries we so casually take for granted have been forced to close or drastically alter the way they conduct business. Stories of restaurant employees being furloughed, or worse, laid off completely, have been too numerous to count. And then there is the bleak reality of what the future may hold for the restaurant and hospitality industry’s new normal. According to a recent study by the Independent Restaurant Coalition (Amel et al., 2020), 85 percent of independent restaurants could permanently close by the end of this year. Imagine,...
October 2020
Like many newcomers to Canada, Malvika Mahajan immigrated to Toronto to find a better life for her family. She was anxious about restarting her career in a new country, despite having many years of experience as a supply chain specialist in India, including work for a large multinational corporation. To create a roadmap that would land her a professional role in Canada, Malvika joined the Supply Chain Management bridging program at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in January 2020, eager to learn as much as possible about how her field operates in Canada and to...
August 2020
Oakton Community College’s Cannabis Dispensary and Patient Care Specialist certificate program is the direct result of a single interaction between a senior Oakton administrator and an Oakton alumnus. The alumnus worked for a medical cannabis dispensary and expressed the need for educated patient care specialists who were able to interact with chronically ill patients—in other words, those with job skills that go beyond being a “weed enthusiast.” Students and alumni can positively impact curriculum and academic programming as members of career advisory committees and by playing a role in...
July 2020
In October 2012, Austin Community College District (ACC) was awarded a four-year, $2.1 million TAACCCT grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to assist students with the removal of barriers to degree completion and acquisition of entry-level positions in the field of information technology (IT). With grant funds, the college designed a new online competency-based education (CBE) program—Accelerated Programmer Training (APT). The initiative improved distance learning curriculum and delivery, which, in turn, increased student enrollment and graduation rates, and, ultimately, amplified job...
June 2020
The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) team at Sinclair Community College is dedicated to creating one of the most comprehensive and pioneering facilities in the nation for the advancement of the UAS industry. Since 2008, Sinclair has been at the forefront of UAS innovation, creating partnerships, developing leading curriculum, and investing significantly to establish a nationally prominent program dedicated to meeting workforce needs. The team members never dreamed they would be called upon to respond to one of the most devastating storms to ever to affect the Greater Miami Valley in southwest...
June 2020
Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) was quick to modify college operations in response to the COVID­­–19 pandemic to ensure both academic continuity and the safety of students, faculty, and staff. With the closure of all facilities, hundreds of credit courses were converted from face-to-face to online or alternative delivery formats—an enormous undertaking and a collaborative effort by individuals across the college that was accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Since March 25, every student has been attending classes remotely through a computer or device. Justin Starr,...
April 2020
Enhancing partnerships in career and technical education (CTE) is essential to community colleges’ efforts to serve students, businesses, and local communities. These partnerships are critical to designing curriculum; teaching up-to-date content and skills; and staying abreast of technological demands, business trends, and employment expectations. In Mississippi, CTE focuses on developing and implementing research-based instructional programs that meet growing workforce needs and promote economic development (Advance CTE, n.d.). In the 2017-2018 academic year, 20,411 degrees and certificates...
March 2020
The Arapahoe Community College (ACC) Sturm Collaboration Campus hosted a panel discussion and facility tour with education, industry, government, and community leaders on January 21, 2020, in Castle Rock, Colorado, to showcase ACC’s dynamic work-based learning programs and postsecondary certificates connecting industry and education. Apprenticeships in the fields of health care, manufacturing, and automotive service technology were highlighted, and several current and former ACC students were on hand to speak about their career-focused educational experience. Attendees included U.S....
February 2020
Community college faculty, staff, and administrators face many challenges as they work to support student success, and the mental health of students ranks high on the list of concerns. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10- to 34-year-olds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019) and the tenth leading cause of death across all age groups in the U.S. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). Colleges have a unique opportunity to support student success through targeted efforts to reduce the suicide rate. House Bill 28 (Anielski, R-Walton Hills, OH), passed...
February 2020
Leadership at Mesa Community College (MCC) and Mesa Public Schools (MPS) worked together to strategize methods to increase persistence and college attendance for high school students, with an emphasis on populations facing the most challenges. The resulting Mesa Community College High School Advisor Program creates a one-stop enrollment experience and is increasing the number of Mesa public high school students enrolling at the college. Through the partnership, an MCC college advisor is embedded in each of the six MPS high schools to recruit students, provide seamless transition to MCC,...
April 2019
Over the past few years, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) has prioritized the implementation of an institutional youth engagement strategy. Reliably producing skilled, work-ready graduates in demand by industry is SAIT’s core contribution to the provincial economy (SAIT, 2019). The youth engagement strategy’s overarching vision is as follows: Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is a leader in creating the future workforce by delivering life-changing experiences for youth. To achieve this mandate, the institute recognizes and embraces its unique support role in overcoming a...
November 2018
Two years ago, student and Valencia Technology Club member Richard Haynes asked if club members could take Valencia College’s obsolete computers and refurbish them for students who need a computer and can’t afford to purchase one. At the time, the project did not move forward. A year later, however, representatives from the Information Technology (IT), Legal, and Finance departments; the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP); and the Valencia Technology Club met, and, collaboratively, developed the club’s computer donation and repair programs. Now, selected LSAMP students...
October 2018
Historically, community colleges have lower completion and retention rates than their four-year counterparts. Hongwei (2015) suggested that this is in part due to the fact that leading retention models were designed for four-year institutions, not community colleges. Community college students often face unique nonacademic barriers which impact their retention and persistence rates (Goldrick-Rab, Broton, & Eisenberg, 2013; Goldrick-Rab, Broton, & Gates, 2015; Hongwei, 2015; Troester-Trate, 2017). Such barriers include, but are not limited to, a lack of resources such as food,...
September 2018
Only 25.9 percent of individuals residing in Aims Community College’s taxing district in Northern Colorado have earned a college degree or credential. In order to assist parents, families, and prospective students who are interested in college, but have no experience with the application process, Aims Community College hosts College 101 for anyone who would like to learn more about going to college. The free one-hour session is held at various locations, including the college campuses, local libraries, and community outreach centers. Dinner is provided. At College 101, attendees learn about...
July 2018
Before Tallahassee Community College (TCC) founded the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence, there was no safety net for nonprofits in Florida’s Big Bend region, limited access to specialized training and resources, and no way for nonprofits to speak with a unified voice to local decision makers. Leon County, where TCC is based, is home to more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations. These nonprofits are a critical part of the Big Bend’s economy, generating more than $3.1 billion in annual revenue and employing 1 in 10 workers. However, many nonprofits—particularly small ones—face...

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