Over the past few weeks, our country has been dealing with a pandemic we never thought possible. Emergency personnel, doctors and nurses, janitors, food service staff, grocery store employees, and so many more essential workers have been stepping up to fight the COVID-19 crisis and support the needs in local communities. I’m certain it’s not the way community colleges across the nation wanted to enter and celebrate National Community College month, which starts today. However, community colleges are stepping up to help the communities they serve – and for that, this #CCMonth TargetX wants to say, “Thank You!” 

Across the country, community colleges have been serving as COVID-19 testing sites, being set up to serve as possible makeshift hospitals, or donating thousands of masks, ventilators, and even food to local hospitals and food shelters. Here’s a highlight of some community colleges and the work they’re doing to make a difference across our country.

Washtenaw Community College – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Using an innovative approach, WCC Advanced Manufacturing Technology department chair, Tom Penrid, has been working hard at producing 3D-printed medical masks made from plant-based, biodegradable plastic inside the Occupational Education Building at the college. Granted access to the campus during their statewide lockdown, Penrid’s work was deemed “necessary to sustain or protect life.” The college administration provided Penrid the resources to make nearly 200 face masks, and he’s working to secure additional sources for supplies to continue the project. 

Bergen Community College — Paramus, New Jersey

In late February, Bergen Community College became one of the first drive-thru testing centers opened in the state of New Jersey. Open seven days a week, the Community College serves as one of the prime locations for hundreds of community members to get the free tests. They’re anticipating over 2,500 people getting tested each week. 

Central Texas College – Killeen, Texas

CTC’s Department of Allied Health, along with campus police, worked together to donate nearly $2,500 in personal protective equipment to the City of Killeen Emergency Operations Center. The group delivered masks, face shields, gloves, and other emergency equipment to support medical facilities across central Texas.

SUNY Schenectady County Community College – Schenectady, New York

SUNY Schenectady has worked to support Schenectady and the Capital Region of New York by donating 300 essential masks, 40 protective suits, and 100 boxes of gloves to help safeguard healthcare workers on the frontline at Ellis Medicine. They also donated perishable items from their Culinary Arts program to the City Mission of Schenectady. However, despite everything going on, they’ve continued to keep their focus on their students. Through the support of their Foundation, they have a fully stocked food pantry open throughout the week for students and staff.

Wake Technical Community College – Raleigh, North Carolina

Wake Technical Community College has donated critical personal protective equipment that included 74,000 gloves, over 3,000 N95 masks, lab coats, and other supplies to Wake County EMS, Wake County Human Services, Glenaire Retirement Community, Wake Med Health and Hospitals, Duke University Hospital, UNC Rex Healthcare, and Transitions LifeCare.

Kalamazoo Valley Community College – Kalamazoo, Michigan

Loading up their ValleyHub food truck, KVCC community members worked together to deliver perishable food items from their food vendor, Aramark, to the Comstock Community Center’s Food Pantry. Their college community continued to rally together in providing the extra medical masks, gloves, and gowns used in their chemistry and science programs to local hospitals and health-related service suppliers.

HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Located in the capital region of Pennsylvania, the community college has loaned out ventilators and a non-invasive BiPAP breathing unit to two local hospitals: Geisinger Holy Spirit and Penn State Health. Additionally, as part of their HACC Heroes series, they’ve reported that faculty from their Nursing and Allied Health programs gathered and donated personal protective equipment and supplies to UPMC Pinnacle, a local healthcare system located across central Pennsylvania.

Oklahoma City Community College – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The college’s Division of Health Professions has worked together to donate almost 98,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to doctors and nurses across the city. Additionally, they donated over 3,000 pairs of gloves to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. They’re also continuing their efforts in supporting their students and families by ensuring that their food pantry is fully stocked with meal kits for students to pick up curbside. Currently, the college is hosting an Emergency Children’s Supplies Drive to help give students with young children access to diapers, formula, and baby food.

Portland Community College – Portland, Oregon

Back in mid-March, the College’s President, Mark Mitsui, sent out a national challenge to community colleges asking them to donate and support their local hospitals. The college stepped up to the plate by donating nearly 12,000 items from their various healthcare Career Technical Education programs to help doctors and nurses across Oregon. PCC is the largest post-secondary institution in the state, serving nearly 73,000 full-time and part-time students.

This hasn’t been an easy time for anyone across the world, but as we start off National Community College Month, we must understand the impact they make on our communities not just right now, but throughout the year – every year. It’s important to remember that many of our local doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, hospitality service members, veterinarians, and so many more essential workers started their educational and professional journey at a community college. 

Every member of the TargetX family is proud to support our community college clients. We understand the force they’ve become in higher education and we’re happy to stand alongside them providing the tools they need to communicate and support their current and prospective students while looking ahead to build successful 2020 Summer and Fall semesters. 

For all that they do, we say “Happy National Community College Month” to all our #Comm_College clients, and thank you for making an impact on our communities during this global pandemic.