VCC Foundation awarded $75,000 grant for new lab | #education | #technology | #training

ELY – The Vermilion Community College Foundation, on behalf of VCC, is the recipient of a $75,000 grant to help fund the construction of an outdoor learning lab.
The financial award is part of a $825,000 award to community colleges across the 144-county territory of the Agriculture and Rural Initiative of Compeer Financial. VCC is among four community and technical colleges in the state to receive the educational grant.
Vermilion will use the grant to build an outdoor learning lab which includes a classroom and equipment storage for the Natural Resources Technology program. The grants are intended to help enhance the hands-on learning and real-world experiences offered to agriculture students at institutions like VCC. Vermilion was selected as a partner based on their agricultural education offerings, agriculture workforce development and geographic impact.
Rita Koch, Program Coordinator for the VCC Natural Resource Technology program, noted how the new learning facility will serve students studying natural resources. “Our program is always thinking about ways to make sure our graduates are field-ready for work in natural resources,” she said. “This will be such a great space to continue to provide hands-on experience in equipment maintenance, wildlife necropsies, and also provide a marshalling space for our many field labs.”
Compeer Financial committed $1.9 million in grants and scholarships over the next five years with the goal of further developing agriculture’s workforce. This is the first of three rounds of grants being presented.
“Because Compeer clients often list workforce development among their highest concerns, our board agreed that vocational agriculture education should be a high priority for the fund,” said Rodney Bosma, a Compeer financial director. “Our partners in higher education provide opportunities for young adults in rural communities every day, and we hope this support will enhance those training programs to prepare them for a successful future in agriculture.”
The Agriculture and Rural Initiative was created by the Compeer Financial Board of Directors in 2019 to make signature investments in programs and projects that directly address the needs of farmers and others who work in agriculture.
“Community and technical colleges provide one-of-a-kind educational opportunities, which are focused on the needs and careers in those communities,” Bosma said. “These grants are part of Compeer’s commitment to champion rural development, by supporting our clients and communities, creating sustainable and long-term success in the industry.”

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