Special to the
Shondae Brown, Southern Union State Community College’s public relations director, was among 14 Alabama and 13 Mississippi community college administrators who recently completed the Community College Policy Fellowship Program.
The Community College Policy Fellowship Program is a 10-month professional development program sponsored by the Mississippi Community College Board and the Alabama Community College System and directed by Tyson Elbert of AdvocacyBuild, LLC. The curriculum focuses on four national program pillars: policy, leadership, networking and advocacy. Comparative elements of both state systems are highlighted throughout the program year as well.
The CPFP cohort met throughout the academic year to discuss state and national policies on education and to determine successful ways to advocate on behalf of Alabama and Mississippi college students. The fellowship program culminated with a trip to Washington D.C., for the Washington Advocacy Seminar, enabling the cohort to meet with education policymakers.
The 2019 Mississippi and Alabama CPFP cohorts focused on three policy issues/requests: (1) Protection of the Federal Pell Grant program, particularly max-Pell and the Pell surplus. Fellows will also request that students be able to use Pell for short-term certificate programs. (2) Second-chance Pell, specifically the passage of the REAL Act, which currently has bipartisan support. (3) New funding commitments ($150 million) for the Strengthening Community College Training Grants (SCCTG) to build on the success of the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants (TAACCCT) program.
While in Washington, D.C., the Fellows met with every member of Mississippi and Alabama’s congressional delegations. They also visited the Association of Community College Trustees, the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for American Progress and the Vera Institute of Justice.