From the desk of Cindi Love, ACPA Executive Director

I am excited to be at the Community and Technical College Fly-In hosted by Downs Government Affairs. The event is for community and technical college presidents and senior leaders to hear from the Department of Ed, Health and Human Services, Labor, Commerce, Homeland Security and more about the new White House priorities for funding as well as the expectations for collaboration and leveraging assets in much more effective ways.

This is definitely a call to a new business model for higher ed.

Thank you to Dr. Olivia Blackmon who mentioned ACPA in her presentation as a great partner for Community and Technical Colleges who create opportunities for the majority of first-generation and underrepresented students. We are really proud of the work of our Commission for Two Year Colleges in developing our platforms of support for these institutions and the 3x increase in Institutional memberships for Community and Technical Colleges over the last three years.

Workforce Diversity is a key theme for this Fly-In and assessment is central to its achievement. I am proud of ACPA's special edition of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks (GDIB) for campuses. The GDIB is used worldwide in all types of organizations committed to workforce diversity and Inclusion. In listening to the presentations at this Fly-In, it is clear that all government agencies that make grants will be requiring evidence of diversity and inclusion outcomes that go beyond compliance. Now is a great time to think about the ACPA Special Edition of the GDIB for your department, division and campus. All of us must be thinking about new and alternative funding sources and we don't want to be shut out for lack of assessment that is recognized by the federal government. The GDIB is in use with the Department of Defense and others.

Here are a few notes from today's Fly-In:

  • Sharing notes from the Community and Technical College Fly-In

  • Food, transportation, childcare and housing are 2/3's of the investment that community college students must make to stay in school.  1 in every 3.5 community college students experiences food insecurity. (Mia Hubbard from MAZON citing Wisconsin Hope Study)

  • Food pantries and the C/U Food Bank Alliance are growing and important, but we cannot solve the problem of food insecurity this way. Best practice is to connect students to government programs so they create their own path to sufficiency. Some campuses are attracting SNAP  https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/et-policy-and-guidance vendors to increase awareness and use. The role of public policy advocacy by higher education  is critical now--to expand programs like SNAP, streamline applications, clarify work requirements that qualify students for SNAP, allow student meal plan sharing (UCLA leading the way) and push to increase federal funding, not decrease.  SNAP expires in 2018.  Public information gathering sessions about food insecurity are taking place now.

  • Every state must operate a SNAP education and training program (SNAP E&T). Students who participate in these can get a waiver of the regulatory restriction on SNAP for college students.  Community colleges that partner with these centers (Washington State is a good model) can really make a difference in student success. SNAP to Skills projects links employers, campuses and SNAP programs. Technical assistance is available at www.snaptoskills.gov.

  • WIC is another important program for non-traditional students with families. 48 percent of US infants participated in WIC in 2015.  National school lunch program serves 30 million children every day, the majority free and reduced. 1 in 4 Americans participate. School breakfast program serves 14.5 million children.

  • Child and Adult Care Feeding Programs are also available at local facilities students can access.

  • The Summer Food Service Program is available and largely underused. All congregant feeding is a barrier.  People are refurbishing school buses as food trucks and activity programs.

  • Filling out the Pell is a barrier for some of these students. They are living with grandparents, siblings and friends and do not have access to their parents for the FAFSA.   SNAP E&T funds can be used as a bridge while students are working to be Pell eligible.