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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

With national support, MN rural community college can reshape its future

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Monday, May 20, 2024   

A Minnesota community college serving rural students is getting a lift as it works to bring more innovation to its campus.

The school was selected as part of a national effort to ensure smaller institutions have the tools to thrive.

Riverland Community College, with locations in greater southeastern Minnesota, was chosen for support from the Accelerating Equitable Outcomes initiative.

It's part of an organization known as Achieving the Dream.

The group's President and CEO Karen Stout said rural community colleges tend to work with tight budgets, making it hard to access outside expertise, and their contributions are often overlooked.

"Sometimes, our community colleges in rural communities are the largest employer," said Stout. "They are sometimes the cultural hub for the community, they can be the social services hub for the community, you know, they can be the recreational hub for the community."

Stout said many students at these schools also lack key resources, and improving their campus experience might propel them to better outcomes.

Just across the border, Chippewa Valley Technical College in Wisconsin was also chosen to join the support network. The program offers a three-year engagement process where school leaders work with coaches and each other on various strategies.

Stout said a lot of these schools are the only post-secondary education option for miles around. She noted they hope to make them ready to adapt to the changing needs of their surrounding communities.

"Some of them are bringing digital skills into their general education work," said Stout, "so that every graduate of that rural community college is digitally savvy."

Stout added that as smaller towns become more diverse, these schools are likely to be serving many first-generation college students in the years ahead.

Understanding what those individuals need to succeed is viewed as a top priority. This initiative is funded through a donation from private philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.


Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.




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