Formed in 2009, the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) led Community College Consortium is an informal association of geographically diverse community colleges that reflect the broad scope of U.S. society and culture and have significant international exchange experience. In 2021, the consortium welcomed Sinclair Community College (SCC) in Dayton, Ohio as one of five new college partners to assist in the implementation of the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program, a U.S. Department of State sponsored international exchange program.
Although Sinclair Community College has only been involved with the CCI Program for four months, already the college and greater Dayton community have benefited substantially from its new partnership.
The impact of the CCI Program on the institutional capacity of the college cannot be understated. Sinclair’s Hospitality Management and Tourism department is moving forward with plans to offer brand new one-year certificates in Culinary Arts and Baking as a direct result of the success of CCI participants piloting the intuitive condensed programs. Once authorized these two new certificates will be available to all culinary students at the college, offering new affordable in-demand certificates to amplify student professional skills and readiness for the workforce.
Likewise, SCC’s Agriculture department has also benefited from inclusion in the Community College Consortium. As a direct result of the two CCI participants in the department, SCC now has the capacity to expand their Agriculture department with twelve new classes that will be available to all students.
On-campus, CCI participants are known for their leadership and drive. Participants can be found at the “American Journey” exhibit on campus, sponsored by SCC’s Diversity Office, which displays artifacts showcasing the African American experience in the U.S.; volunteering at the SCC Food Pantry assisting in organizing and distributing food for those in need, and; volunteering in SCC’s Engineering Department designing programs to get local high school students interested in STEM. It is clear that Sinclair Community College’s new partnership contributes eager young minds who are resolute in their desire to learn from and contribute to SCC, strengthening the institution and student body alike.
In the classroom, CCI participants internationalize their courses and contribute directly to the development of in-demand 21st-century technical skills that are necessary for students to be competitive as they enter the workforce in today’s globalized multi-cultural economy. The CCI Program provides domestic students with the unique opportunity to learn from and engage with individuals of other cultures, an opportunity that is especially valuable given that the Institute of International Education states that in 2017-2018, less than 11 percent of all undergraduate students in the United States had the opportunity to study abroad, this number drops to about 2 percent at community colleges.
The positive byproducts of the CCI Program are felt far from the classrooms and academic halls of SCC’s campus. CCI participants represent the best, the brightest, and the most determined of their countrymen and women and are actively challenged to give back to their American host communities. Such is the case in Dayton, where participants can frequently be found volunteering in local elementary schools sharing their language and education skills to develop new programming to teach young students basic Spanish, and leading tutoring sessions for students in English as a second language (ESL) classes. The kind words of a local elementary school administrator describe the impact of the CCI Participants on local students well, sharing “We have had the privilege of having eleven students from the CCI program as tutors, five of them on a weekly basis. [..] The measurable progress in these students’ well-being and their academic abilities is exciting. We cannot thank you, Sinclair [Community College], and these incredible students enough for your support [..].”
A New Partnership
“Sinclair College is honored to be selected as a host site for this prestigious program,” said Deborah Gavlik, Director of International Education at Sinclair Community College. “Through the CCI program, many of these participants are receiving a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience exceptional academic opportunities at Sinclair College.”
SCC’s involvement in the Community College Consortium has strengthened its capacity to deliver top of the line educational opportunities to students, internationalized its campus offering new perspectives and insights to promote students as global citizens, and created new avenues for the college to connect with and empower the local community through service.
By partnering with Sinclair Community College, the CCI Program is better equipped to achieve the program’s goals of building participants’ technical skills, enhancing their leadership capabilities, and strengthening their English language proficiency. While providing participants opportunities for professional internships, service learning, and community engagement activities to build relations between citizens of the United States and other countries. Ultimately ensuring that participants return home with a deeper understanding of U.S. culture and with improved technical and vocational skills to contribute to the economic development of their home communities.
Do you have a story that you would love to share with the Community College Initiative Program? Participants, alumni, instructors, staff, social hosts, and community members are encouraged to share their stories for the chance to be highlighted in future blogs and social media highlights. Follow this link to complete our “Submit A Story” form.
Written by Evan T. Flatt, Alumni Relations and Communications Coordinator