Congresswoman Robin Kelly announced on Wednesday that Olive-Harvey College has been awarded a $600,000 grant to implement an academic program that will assist low-income minority students earn STEM degrees that will lead to in-demand jobs. “I’m pleased that Olive-Harvey College is committed to encouraging people of color to enter the STEM fields,” Congresswoman Kelly said. “The annual median salary of a computer and information professional is $77,000. This is more than the average Black and Latino household makes combined. I applaud the college for working to increase the participation of Blacks and Latinos in the STEM fields.”
The $600,000 grant will fund a program that will increase student achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and increase the number of underrepresented students who earn STEM degrees of economic value.
“Olive-Harvey College seeks to use these grant funds over the next five years to continue increasing the positive impact on student learning in STEM disciplines,” said Olive-Harvey College President Angelia Millender. “This grant will help address the continued disparity in college readiness for underprivileged racial and ethnic groups, as well as promote low-income and first generation college student access into the STEM fields. We will strive to achieve this through faculty learning communities to strengthen instruction and through partnerships with local high schools to create summer college readiness programs in English support as well as college success seminars.”
The five-year grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Education under the Predominantly Black Institutions Program. The PBI program helps eligible institutions expand higher education opportunities for more low- and middle-income African American students.
In other federal grant news, Rep. Kelly announced recently that Governors State University (GSU) and Joliet Junior College (JJC) would each receive a five-year grant to expand programs aimed at strengthening student services and academic support for low-income students. “The federal funds will help keep students on track toward completing their degrees by expanding and improving academic and career path guidance services,” Rep. Kelly said. “GSU and JJC are both outstanding schools with proven track records of successfully navigating low-income students toward graduation.”
Governor State University will use its $426,027 grant to improve the transition of students into junior year, increase the retention of all students, especially underrepresented groups, and improve the rates of students attaining a baccalaureate degree.
“We are thrilled with this news,” said Dr. Elaine P. Maimon, president of Governors State University. “We will use the funds for projects that will directly benefit our students and continue our momentum as a model university.”
As its fifth president, Dr. Elaine P. Maimon has led the transformation of Governors State University (GSU) from an upper-division institution to a full-service, comprehensive university with a four-year undergraduate program reflecting the best research on general education; a residence facility designed as a living/learning community with full-time faculty members in residence; an increased number of international students; an emerging athletic program; and enrollment growth in double digits.
The $413,956 grant received by Joliet Junior College will enable the school to strengthen its Progressive Pathways to Student Success Program, an online information and coaching system designed to increase achievement and support students from the point of acceptance through degree completion.
“I am so proud of the hard work of our faculty and staff that led to JJC achieving this prestigious grant,” said Dr. Debra Daniels, president of Joliet Junior College “This is a significant grant that will help us support student retention and completion. More specifically, it will help us invest in technology to customize our outreach to students and enhance our support systems to assist students in developing a career path.”
In March 2012, Dr. Debra Daniels became Joliet Junior College’s eighth president. Daniels, who has over 30 years of higher education experience, was previously the president of San Bernardino Valley College in California. Before that, she served as district vice president for academics and student services for Polk State College in Florida.
The grant will be administered by the Strengthening Institutions Program, which helps colleges and universities expand their capacity to serve low-income students.
In other federal grants awarded with the assistance of Rep. Robin Kelly, the Kankakee Township Fire Protection District and the Pilot Township Fire Protection District were each awarded federal grants from the Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program. The Kankakee Township Fire Protection District received a $20,953 grant and the Pilot Township Fire Protection District received a $114,858 grant. The Kankakee Township Fire Protection District purchased cable/rescue reels with its grant. Pilot Township used its grant to purchase breathing apparatuses, or air packs, which were last purchased by the department nearly 20 years ago.
Earlier this year, the Manteno Community Fire Protection District was awarded a three-year federal grant to support the hiring of additional firefighters. The $425,000 multi-year grant will pay for the salaries, benefits and pensions of three firefighters over a three-year period.
The Richton Park and Riverdale fire departments, each awarded federal grants from the Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program. Richton Park used its $135,620 grant to purchase emergency breathing equipment for firefighters. The Riverdale Fire-Rescue Department purchased firefighting helmets with the $4,286 grant it received.
In June of 2014, Rep. Kelly announced that the Homewood Fire Department was awarded a $1.8 million federal grant that benefited 18 south suburban fire departments. The monies assisted 18 communities in the purchase of portable radios, increase training and improve the safety of our firefighters.
In the spring of 2013, Rep. Kelly and Senator Dick Durbin announced the awarding of a $332,000 federal grant to the Bradley Fire Department in Bradley, Illinois. In addition, a $362,000 federal grant was awarded to the Manteno Community Fire District in Manteno, Illinois. The towns of Bradley and Manteno are located in the county of Kankakee.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grants program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The purpose of the grants is to enhance the ability of fire departments and other emergency management organizations to protect the health and safety of the public as well as that of first-responders.