Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Wins $100,000 Walmart PRESS for Completion Grant

6/28/2012

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Wins $100,000
Walmart PRESS for Completion Grant

Grant will allow OCtech to deepen and expand important reform efforts and ensure that more students have a better chance of obtaining a market-valued credential

 

OCtech was selected as one of 15 community colleges across the country to win a $100,000 Walmart PRESS for Completion grant. The grant program, sponsored by the Walmart Foundation and administered by Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for community college student success, will enable OCtech to better engage faculty (especially adjunct faculty) and staff in important campus-based reform efforts and ensure that more students have a better chance of staying in school and obtaining a market-valued credential.

“OCtech is honored to be a recipient of this grant,” said Dr. Walt Tobin, president of OCtech.  “These funds will promote deeper engagement among faculty, staff, and students in hopes of strengthening students’ chances of earning a degree, being gainfully employed and improving their quality of life.”

“OCtech has met high standards of practice and performance and is well-positioned to tackle one of the toughest community college reform challenges our nation is facing: engaging more full-time and adjunct faculty and staff in student success efforts,” said Rachel Singer, Vice President of Achieving the Dream, Inc.

Nationwide, while great strides have been made at community colleges for student success, the proportion of faculty (including adjunct faculty) and student services personnel deeply engaged in the work is modest compared to the total number of faculty and staff at the colleges. Further, the reform work has not yet eliminated disconnections between academic departments and student services limiting vital collaboration.  OCtech is an Achieving the Dream Leader College, a network of 50 colleges known for their commitment to student-centered evidence-based reforms and outstanding increases in student outcomes. Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges are deemed a most ideal network for testing and expanding innovative faculty and staff engagement strategies.

Through a competitive process, including 50 eligible Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges, OCtech was selected as a grant recipient in the Walmart PRESS for Completion grant program. The grant will include a 27-month process during which time OCtech will receive technical assistance and support from Achieving the Dream. In addition, OCtech has agreed to serve as a peer coach and be active in the learning community among the other 175+ colleges in the larger Achieving the Dream National Reform Network.  Ultimately, at least 100,000 students stand to benefit directly, and 3.75 million indirectly, from the collective work of the selected colleges.

Representatives from OCtech are participating in the inaugural Walmart PRESS for Completion Grant Recipient Kickoff Institute at the Hyatt Hotel in Reston, VA from June 24, 2012 – June 26, 2012.  

The following are all 15 colleges that were selected into the Walmart PRESS for Completion grant program:  

Aiken Technical College
(Aiken, SC)
Alamo Colleges
(San Antonio, TX)
Brazosport College
(Lake Jackson, TX)
Community College of Beaver County (Monaca, PA)
Cuyahoga Community College
(Cleveland, OH)
Durham Technical Community College (Durham, NC)
Guilford Technical Community College (Jamestown, NC)
Northampton Community College
(Bethlehem, PA)

Northern Essex Community College (Haverhill, MA)
Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (Orangeburg, SC)
Pulaski Technical College
(North Little Rock, AR)
Roxbury Community College
(Boston, MA)
Tallahassee Community College
(Tallahassee, FL)
Valencia College
(Orlando, FL)
Yakima Valley Community College
(Yakima, WA)

 The Achieving the Dream Model

Achieving the Dream Institutions commit to the Achieving the Dream Student-Centered Model of Institutional Improvement. Based on four principles, the model frames the overall work of helping more students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college credential. Each college approaches the work differently, but Achieving the Dream’s five-step process provides practical guidelines for keeping the focus where it belongs and building momentum over time. Throughout the process, Achieving the Dream Coaches offer customized support and help each college’s core team implement data-informed programs and policies that build long-term, institution-wide commitment to student success.

Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges

Leader Colleges are demonstrating the power of the Achieving the Dream Student-Centered Model of Institutional Improvement. They show that it is possible to raise persistence and graduation rates, close achievement gaps, and improve lives. Leader Colleges embody the ultimate goal of Achieving the Dream, and as such, serve as mentors within a community of learners. To be eligible for Leader College distinction, colleges must demonstrate commitment to and progress on the four principles: committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systemic institutional improvement. They must also show three years of sustained improvement of student success on at least one of the following measures of performance:

ü  Completion of certificates or degrees

ü  Term-to-term and year-to-year retention

ü  Completion of college-level math and English courses

ü  Advancement from developmental to credit-bearing courses 
ü  Course completion

Additionally, each Leader College has successfully implemented at least one student success intervention or initiative that is advancing student outcomes that are of sufficient scale to benefit a substantial proportion of students. Indeed, these institutions have met high standards of practice and performance and Achieving the Dream expects these colleges to serve as mentors within the Achieving the Dream community of learners. For more information on the Leader Colleges, click here.

Philanthropy at Walmart 
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

 Achieving the Dream
Achieving the Dream is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: 1) guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, 2) leading policy change, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in community college history. With nearly 200 colleges, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 32 states and the District of Columbia - Achieving the Dream helps 3.75 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams. To learn more, visit www.AchievingtheDream.org.

 

Back to News Listing