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2 CCCs Compete for $1M Brand-Building Grant

June 2, 2022

Older college students using computersTwo California community colleges — Long Beach City College and Madera Community College — have been named top-10 finalists in “The Million Dollar Community College Challenge,” sponsored by Lumina Foundation.

The national grant competition helps community colleges position their brand and marketing to gain the attention of adult learners.

One college will win the $1 millon dollar prize, along with technical assistance to develop their brand and marketing strategy. Nine runners-up will each receive a $100,000 grant and technical assistance. Awarded funds must be used to support the college’s marketing and outreach plans.

“The Million Dollar Community College Challenge is all about promoting the opportunities at community colleges and connecting adults to higher education,” said Shauna Davis, Lumina’s strategy director for community college participation. “The 10 finalists each submitted a compelling vision for making vital campus-to-community connections and creative ideas for promoting their colleges brand.”

Long Beach City College (LBCC) was established in 1927, and in 1949 opened a second campus dedicated to adult and technical education. During the 1980s, an influx of Southeast Asian refugees resulted in the need for extensive courses in English as a Second Language. A later wave of amnesty applicants ensured that ESL remained one of the college’s core programs, for which it has garnered awards as a state model.

Today, LBCC is one of the largest of California’s community colleges, and roughly 38 percent of its diverse student population is aged 25 and older.

Madera Community College (MCC) began as a satellite campus within the State Center district, and in 2020 became the 116th college of the CCC system. The college serves a largely agricultural area within the Central Valley region, and about one third of its students are aged 25 or older.

MCC is one of eight community colleges in the state to pilot the Competency-Based Education model allowing students to earn credits based on skill mastery through relevant work experience.

The 10 Lumina finalists are: College of Eastern Idaho, Community College of Rhode Island, County College of Morris, Great Falls College MSU, Houston Community College, Long Beach City College, Madera Community College, Madison Area Technical College, Minnesota State College Southeast, and Northwest-Shoals Community College.

In the next phase of the competition, each finalist is to submit a video communicating the college’s promise to adult students.

The million-dollar winner will be named in August. More information about the challenge can be found at luminafoundation.org/challenge.