MCC Social Science and Business Division Chair and Psychology Instructor Chad Graham was one of 13 Mississippi and 14 Alabama community college administrators who recently completed the Community College Policy Fellows Program (CPFP).
The Community College Policy Fellowship Program is a 10-month professional development program sponsored by the Mississippi Community College Board and the Alabama Community College System and directed by Tyson Elbert of AdvocacyBuild, LLC. The curriculum focuses on four national program pillars: policy, leadership, networking and advocacy. Comparative elements of both state systems are highlighted throughout the program year as well.
MCC Associate Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Academics Cathy Parker said the College is proud to have Graham complete the Community College Policy Fellows Program.
“Through this program, Fellows learn to be advocates for community colleges and meet with legislatures in Washington, D.C., to discuss policies that affect community colleges. As a leader on our campus, Mr. Graham can now bring his knowledge and skills back to our campus and share with his colleagues,” Parker said.
Graham said, “At our community colleges we impact our students directly but the Community College Policy Fellows Program (CPFP) provided the opportunity to advocate for community college students on a larger scale, beyond our classrooms, beyond our institutions. During our monthly meetings, the retreat in Montgomery, to our time in Washington D.C., we learned the importance of advocacy and learned to hone our message.”
He noted that being a part of CPFP provided the opportunity to meet other community college leaders, build professional relationships and friendships.
The CPFP cohort meets throughout the academic year to discuss state and national policies on education and to determine successful ways to advocate on behalf of Alabama and Mississippi college students.
The 2019 Mississippi and Alabama CPFP cohorts focused on three policy issues/requests: (1) Protection of the Federal Pell Grant program, particularly max-Pell and the Pell surplus. Fellows will also request that students be able to use Pell for short-term certificate programs. (2) Second-chance Pell, specifically the passage of the REAL Act. (3) New funding commitments ($150 million) for the Strengthening Community College Training Grants (SCCTG) to build on the success of the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants (TAACCCT) program.
While in Washington, D.C., the Fellows met with Mississippi and Alabama congressional delegations. They also visited the Association of Community College Trustees, the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for American Progress, and the Vera Institute of Justice.