$2.25M grant to allow for LBW program expansion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College has been awarded a $2.25 million, five-year Title III “Strengthening Institutions Grant” from the U.S. Department of Education, allowing the college to expand some programs and implement an occupational therapist assistant program.

The grant begins Oct. 1, 2016, and provides $450,000 each year for five years for curriculum development and funding for training, equipment and supplies, as well as professional development.

“We are so excited to have been selected to receive funding under the Strengthening Institutions Program,” said Peggy Linton, dean of instruction and leader of the successful grant writing process. “We look forward to implementing a new advising program, new occupational programs, and career coaching services for students over the next five years.”

The grant will be used to improve academic and student services in a number of ways, including the expansion of options in LBWCC’s industrial electronics program and the development of a new, high-demand program unavailable elsewhere within a reasonable driving distance, said LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel.

LBWCC will develop an occupational therapist assistant (OTA) program to meet regional demand, he said. Students completing this program will receive an Associate in Applied Science Degree and will work with patients to follow a rehabilitation plan developed by an occupational therapist in treating injured, ill, or disabled patients to develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.

“Starting a new program is expensive and we could not go forward without this grant. We anticipate the first class in the OTA program to begin fall of 2019,” Linton said.

The current industrial electronics program will expand to include a networking option, an industrial systems option, and an electromechanical short certificate, he said.

The grant will also cover the creation and implementation of programs to help student success by addressing retention and program completion, said Linton.

“We intend to create a comprehensive program to address retention and completion through a college-wide student success coaching program and by improving student advising and orientation,” she said.

An immediate result of grant funding will be the development of coaching services for students to help them stay in college and complete their program of study.

In addition to career coaches, students will have improved orientation and academic advising through grant-funded professional development for advisors.

LBWCC’s grant proposal was based on the current strategic plan, and grant activities will help to achieve College goals and objectives, said Linton.

“Thanks to LBW faculty and staff who contributed objectives and goals to the College’s Strategic Management Plan—grant activities were based on many of their ideas.”