by Photo courtesy of San Diego Community College District

The San Diego Community College District will receive $3.4 million in federal funds that will benefit more than 100,000 students at four community colleges in the region, officials announced this week. 

The funds are included in the FY 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bulls as a result of negotiations by House and Senate leaders. 

The SDCC will receive $1.2 million to better serve lesbian, gay, and transgender students; $1 million for an initiative to expand service at the San Diego College of Continuing Education to youths who have recently aged out of the foster care system; and  $1.2 million for new and expanded centers serving undocumented students.

“These funds will support the academic success of our students, particularly students who face unique challenges as they pursue their education,” said Carlos O. Cortez, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District. “I want to thank Representatives Sara Jacobs, Scott Peters, and Juan Vargas for championing this funding on our behalf to support these students and our colleges.”

According to district officials, the $1.2 million grant obtained by Rep. Jacoba to LGBTQIA+ students will be used to create or expand Pride Centers at San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, San Diego Miramar College, and San Diego College of Continuing Education. 

The Pride Centers offer a safe space for persons of all sexual or gender identities and provide education, dialogue, and research on issues related to sexuality and gender. The federal funds will also hire a regional coordinator who will act as a liaison among the many local agencies that provide services for LGBT students.

 It will also fund an annual leadership academy that encourages students to support the LGBT community, along with a weekly program that develops leadership for LGBT high school and junior high school-aged youth.
Rep. Peters backed a $ 1 million grant to the Gateway to College and Career Program at the San Diego College of Continuing Education for former foster care youth. For the past six years, the Gateway to College and Career program has offered services, learning opportunities, job training, and internships to former foster care youth. The program collaborates with social service agencies to provide food, education, and connections with employers for former foster youth.

Rep. Vargas sponsored a &1.2 million grant to support the  Dreamer Resource Centers at the four college campuses to serve undocumented students, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students, by offering help with registering for classes, financial aid, and readiness for college and a career.

An estimated 1,200 undocumented students attend City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges. Another 2,000 students who are undocumented or come from families with undocumented members attend the non-credit San Diego College of Continuing Education.
The funding will also be used to develop partnerships with community organizations that serve undocumented students and expand outreach at high schools for undocumented students there. According to the district, the grant will also support an annual Undocumented Student Conference to demonstrate to the college community that the campuses are welcoming and safe for undocumented students.

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