TCL to Receive $86,000 Wal-Mart Foundation Grant to Improve Economic Opportunity
TCL one of only 20 chosen nationwide to develop model program
The Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) is one of only 20 community and technical colleges nationwide selected by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to participate in the Wal-Mart Workforce and Economic Opportunity Initiative. Each college will receive an $86,000 grant to partner with its local workforce development community to improve the community’s economic prosperity and help people live better.
The award recipients were announced last week in Washington, D.C., following completion of a highly competitive application and evaluation process.
TCL will use the grant to fund a LEED “Green” Building Construction Training and Employment Project, which will provide participants with education and training for certification as an Alternative Energy Construction Technician (AECT). LEED stands for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System and was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide standards for environmentally sustainable construction.
“This project will allow area employers to have local access to a pool of highly skilled employees who can improve companies’ profitability in a competitive economy,” said Everett Feight, TCL industrial technologies dean and project leader.
TCL will offer AECT training for TCL students, to members of the employed construction workforce, and to under-employed and unemployed individuals, allowing them to enhance their careers by gaining high-demand skills in green building construction.
“We’re grateful for the support provided through the Wal-Mart Foundation. The opportunity to promote LEED certification is one that impacts many of our local initiatives, which have been at the forefront of our local economic development entities. I highly commend the stellar efforts of our grant writing team for capitalizing on this most important environmental issue,” said TCL president Tom Leitzel.
“The green building industry is a critical component of how we’re trying to shape our region both environmentally and economically,” said Kim Statler, executive director of the Lowcountry Economic Network, the economic development arm of Beaufort County. “The Network has identified green building as one of the four focus groups for economic growth in this region. The quality of life that we offer requires that we take a long and hard look at how we can build in an environmentally friendly manner. With help from this grant and TCL’s new program, Beaufort County and the Lowcountry can become a hub for green building initiatives.”
The first year of the project will be devoted to professional development for TCL instructors, to developing an effective blended curriculum benefitting both employers and potential employees, and to operating a pilot project based upon green techniques and technologies. Classes, workshops and seminars will be offered during the second year of the project.
AACC President George R. Boggs expressed particular appreciation for Wal-Mart’s vision in launching an initiative that targets many isolated, rural communities. When operational, programs will serve as models for the more than 800 rural institutions comprising two-thirds of AACC’s close to 1,200 college membership.
“We congratulate these colleges and look forward to the initiative’s impact to revitalize communities and regions,” Boggs said. “With Wal-Mart’s support, this network of pilot projects will provide innovative and sustainable partnerships that expand the capacity of community colleges to spur economic growth.”
“Wal-Mart is proud to support programs that strengthen communities and provide opportunities so that people can live better,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “Wal-Mart’s partnership with AACC identifies institutions committed to enhancing the economic development of local communities by encouraging local businesses, higher education and community organizations to work together to improve their community’s level of competition; especially in the current economy.”
The 19 additional winners are: Yavapai College (Ariz.), Arkansas Northeastern Community College (Ark.), College of the Siskiyous (Calif.), San Diego Community College District (Calif.), Lamar Community College (Colo.), Brevard Community College (Fla.), Miami Dade College (Fla.), Kankakee Community College (Ill.), Henderson Community College (Ky.), Cape Cod Community College (Mass.), Mesabi Range Community and Technical College (Minn.), Northeast Community College (Neb.), Cumberland County College (N.J.), Umpqua Community College (Ore.), Western Texas College (Texas), Northern Virginia Community College (Va.), Clover Park Technical College (Wash.), Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (Wis.) and Casper College (Wyo.).
The Wal-Mart Workforce and Economic Opportunity Initiative is administered by AACC’s Center for Workforce and Economic Development. The Center will provide technical assistance and support through a partnership with the National Center on Education and the Economy www.ncee.edu.
For more information about the Wal-Mart Workforce and Economic Opportunity Initiative and the programs of the 20 winners, visit the AACC Web site at www.aacc.nche.edu.
For more details about the TCL “green” project, please contact Everett Feight at 843.525.8296.
About the Technical College of the Lowcountry One of sixteen colleges comprising the South Carolina Technical College System, the Technical College of the Lowcountry traces its origin to the Mather School founded in 1868. TCL is a comprehensive, public, two-year college dedicated to serving the diverse educational needs of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties. The College annually serves approximately 8,500 credit and continuing education students, a mix of traditional, non-traditional, full-time and part-time. TCL provides quality, affordable academic and technical programs leading to associate degrees, diplomas and certificates. For more information, visit www.tcl.edu or call 843.525.8211.
About the American Association of Community Colleges Located in Washington, D.C., the American Association of Community Colleges is a national organization representing the nation’s close to 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges. Community colleges are the largest and fastest growing sector of higher education and enroll almost half (46 percent) of all U.S. undergraduates. For more information, visit www.aacc.nche.edu.
About Philanthropy at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Wal-Mart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Wal-Mart Foundation supports initiatives focused on enhancing opportunities in education, job skills training, sustainability and health. In 2007, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and the Wal-Mart Foundation gave $296 million to communities across the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
Contact: Leigh Copeland
Office: 843- 525-8231