Skyline College hosted the national convening for the two year Benefits Access for College Completion (BACC) Demonstration Project on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 through Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Representatives from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and Lumina Foundation presented findings from the work of community colleges around the nation who worked to extend access to public benefits for eligible students. Leaders and practitioners from the following six community colleges traveled across the country to participate in the two-day convening:
- Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio
- Gateway Community and Technical College, Covington, Kentucky
- LaGuardia Community College, Long Island, New York
- Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor, Michigan
- Macomb Community College, Warren, Michigan
- Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
CLASP Director, Olivia Golden, moderated a partners panel on the first morning comprised of the following agencies:
- San Mateo County Human Services Agency
- San Francisco County Human Services Agency
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
- Thrive – The Alliance of Nonprofits for San Mateo County
- SparkPoint at Skyline College
Each community partner described how the organization initially engaged in a partnership with SparkPoint at Skyline College, as well as the benefits their organization derives from the partnership. Skyline College has been a model for partner engagement to increase benefits utilization among its eligible student population, especially in regards to developing data sharing agreements with local Human Services Agencies to support students’ applications.
The beginning of the convening focused on best practices each college employed to increase awareness about and uptake of public benefits on their campuses. The second day of the convening concentrated on sustainability of public benefits services on each of the college campuses once the BACC grant closes on June 30, 2014. Each college was charged with developing a sustainability action plan that it would share with its leadership team after the convening.
Article by Heather Smith | Photos by Adolfo Leiva