Grants & Gifts
Classes for Manchester Community College’s (Conn.) 2016- 17 Student Training and Academic Retention Service (STARS) program started with the largest enrollment to date, thanks to a $1.1 million federal TRIO grant received by the college last fall. “This group of 75 students is the largest since the program began,” according to Jason Scappaticci, director of first year and new student programs. “The grant allowed us to hire three previously part-time employees full-time, and we were able to accommodate more students.” The TRIO grant provides the college with annual funding over a period of five years. The new funding has enabled MCC to increase the size of its current level of support, including the hiring of Philip Burnham, Linda Devlin and Latisha Nielson as full-time student support specialists. As part of the six-week STARS summer component, students participate in cultural enrichment activities; work one-on-one with tutors, mentors and advisors; and take a three-credit course prior to beginning their first semester at MCC.
They also participate in a onecredit study-skills course and math lab. There is no cost to students. The grant-funded program covers the cost of tuition, books, supplies, admission to special cultural programs and even bus fare to and from home. STARS is aimed specifically at low-income, often first-generation college students who place into developmental English and math. Students are retested at the end of the summer session, with more than 70 percent of them advancing directly to college-level work. In fact, recent STARS participants had fall-tospring retention rates of 91 percent, compared with 83 percent for all new full-time MCC students. STARS students are also less likely to be on academic probation than other new full-time students during their first semester. “With six weeks of intense remediation, we can remove three-fourths of the participants — about 60 students — from the developmental English classes,” said Scappaticci. “That’s over three course sections’ worth of students who don’t have to take that class anymore.”
Anoka-Ramsey Community College was recently awarded a $360,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development under the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership to train employees at Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson Construction Company. With this grant, the college will deliver a customized training programs in technology, project management, compliance and certification with the goal of improving employee performance, productivity and customer service. The training will serve 400 employees, including 40 new hires. DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. The Minnesota Job Skills Partnership works with businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities and keep high-quality jobs in the state. The program has awarded $40.4 million since 2011 to train 47,028 workers and has leveraged $79.8 million in private funding.
Johnston Community College (N.C.) announced a major gift from Donnie and Linda Lassiter. The donation will support the purchase of a close-quarter shoot house, which will enhance training opportunities for public safety students at JCC. “We’re very excited to be a part of this,” Donnie Lassiter said about the gift supporting public safety. “We hope our support will help you and help all law enforcement in Eastern North Carolina. We’re very proud to be a part of this community college and all that the College is doing here for our community.” The Lassiters are longtime supporters of the college. In recent years, they have established three endowments with JCC Foundation which have supported performing arts, the Student Ambassadors program, and the named giving project in the College’s Learning
Resource Center. The Donnie E. and Linda V. Lassiter North Carolina Archives and Local History Room is named in their honor. In early 2013, the Lassiters made another significant gift to the college, which is currently being used with local bond monies and the NC Connect bond funds to renovate the Tart Building. Lassiter is retired from Heartland Payment Systems, a company he co-founded. He serves on the University of Mount Olive Board of Trustees and is chair on the Board of Directors for North Carolina Foundation for Christian Ministries. He is former member of the Board of Directors for Johnston Health Foundation. Mrs. Lassiter is a former JCC Foundation Board Director and JCC Performing Arts Advisory board member. They are longtime members of Selma Original Free Will Baptist Church.