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By CCWeek Staff  /  
2017 May 26 - 03:31 pm

Grants & Gifts

The National Science Foundation recently awarded a $4 million grant to Collin College (Texas) to enhance the work of the Convergence Technology Center and address the nation’s continually growing need for convergence technology specialists. This fiveyear grant is the sixth Advanced Technology Education grant awarded to the college in the past 20 years and will emphasize information technology and cybersecurity. “There is a critical national shortage of workers in IT and cybersecurity as evidenced by extremely low national unemployment in these fields,” said Ann Beheler, Collin College executive director of Emerging Technology Grants and principal investigator of the National Convergence Technology Center. “Collin College is grateful to the NSF for their confidence in funding the CTC for another five years. I personally am honored and excited to continue leading this essential, student-centered, business-led effort collaborating with our exceptional partners.” The CTC, housed at Collin College and founded in 2004, started with two original partners: the University of North Texas and El Centro College of the Dallas County Community College District.

Today, six additional colleges and universities are partnering with Collin College in the national grant renewal including Florida State College Jacksonville, Fox Valley Technical College (Wis.), Georgia State University, Lansing Community College (Mich.), Lone Star College (Texas) and Sinclair Community College (Ohio). Together, the partners will develop cuttingedge curriculum to address a major shift in IT due to the emergence of cloud computing, internet of things and software-defined networks. Additionally, the center will continue providing professional development for faculty nationwide and best practices for recruiting and retaining underserved populations including women and Hispanic students. Further, the CTC will work with 90 high schools, community colleges and universities to disseminate the program’s work nationally.

The Texas Workforce Commission has awarded Lone Star College $359,996 to train and prepare Texans for employment in highdemand careers in the building construction trades. The grant offers tuition, fees, and program supplies to train Texas individuals 18 years of age and older in the non-credit ironworking, for-credit HVAC&R (commercial servicing certificate) and Electrical Technology (occupational certificate) programs located at LSC-North Harris. The grant will provide training to 120 students and includes $269,415 for tuition and fees. The LSC-Construction and Skilled Trades Technology Center, which will be located at LSC-North Harris, is near completion and will feature six classrooms, training labs for Electrical Technology, Field Service Technology, Pipefitting and HVAC-R programs. The center, which is expected to open in fall 2017, will also house a conference center and office space. LSC has also partnered with NextOp Veterans to make veterans aware of this opportunity. NextOp Veterans provides companies with world-class, skilled candidates and coaches them on how to be effective employees.

Any diesel technology program needs trucks on which students can work. That's a simple concept, but it's not an easy order to fill. Thanks to a tremendous donation of trucks to Laramie County Community College’s (Wyo.) diesel technology program, these students have some of the best hands-on opportunities in the region. Medium-duty and overthe-road diesel trucks, like the ones delivering packages or pulling trailers down the highway, can cost around $50,000 for used trucks or more than $100,000 for new ones, according to Lisa Murphy of the LCCC Foundation said. But thanks to NaviStar International, LCCC’s diesel tech program is now the proud owner of seven different trucks. These range from a “cab chassis” to a pair of ProStar tractors with sleeper cabs, as well as DuraStar box trucks with large cargo holds. The value of this gift to the college is worth more than half a million dollars. “The biggest setback we face is having current mock-ups the students can work on,” says LCCC instructor Larry Van Why. “In the past, we've had to rely on funds to go buy a truck or get one loaned.” To award ASE certifications to the students, program vehicles cannot be 10 years older (or six years, in some cases) than the most current models. These donated models are all between 2012 and 2014. It’s an incredibly generous gift, Van Why says, made even more so because NaviStar and Lariat included the software licenses required to run the vehicles' computer diagnostic programs. “With the recent budget cuts faced by the college, donations like this can change the entire direction of the program,” Murphy said.

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