UCC Mainstream Online

SOWI chosen for $180,000 grant

Jared Hegg & Ginger Johnson / Mainstream

SOWI will receive payments in aggregate of $180,000 over the course of three years to spend on their Grow Our Own job readiness project. This project will work to recruit viticulture and enology students, help train current SOWI students and assist SOWI graduates find jobs. Wal-Mart Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges provided the grant through the two organizations’ Job Ready, Willing, and Able initiative.

“The Southern Oregon Wine Institute has had lots of success with competitive grants because of its innovative approach to instruction and economic development,” Susan Taylor, director of grants and planned giving, said. “We have received grants [from] $5,000 up to $1.25 million for SOWI.  The AACC/Walmart Foundation grants are special, though, because it's not just funding to complete your project — they really take the time to assist colleges meet our goals, help us leverage other funding and make powerful connections nationwide. While the funding is significant, that extra support is pretty unique to the AACC and Walmart Foundation.”

This is not SOWI’s first Wal-Mart Foundation and AACC grant. SOWI also received a $100,000 Economic Opportunity Initiative grant in 2008 through their work with the organizations. During this time, SOWI showcased UCC’s ability to provide leadership in community college education.

“UCC was selected as a mentor college for the Job Ready, Willing and Able initiative because of our leadership and significant partnerships in responding to workforce and economic development challenges in southern Oregon,” SOWI Director Chris Lake said.

As a mentor college, UCC will be able to share knowledge and experience with 16 other JRWA colleges throughout the United States.

 “UCC will not only provide mentorship to the other partner institutions but we will also be exposed to new, innovative ideas that are being applied at both mentor and mentee colleges. In my experience, it is the sharing of new ideas that will provide the greatest benefit to UCC,” Lake said.

Preparation for taking on this responsibility will begin this month as colleges begin to meet.

“We will be called to meetings in Washington, D.C. in early June to gather with our partner schools [and] to begin the process of building this network of colleges,” Lake said.