By Nora Welch, Senior Leadership Development Associate at Joining Vision and Action

We know that we have an incredible grantwriting team, but we still regularly find ourselves in awe of their accomplishments—and more importantly, their contributions to communities across the country.

If you will allow us to humble brag just a bit, we want to share with you news on the great work of our senior resource development associate, Lisa Cirincione, who learned of three grant awards within one week’s time. Woohoo!

Below we share a bit about each organization, how much they were awarded and the project they will be funding, as well as some of Lisa’s thoughts about the process.

And the winners are ….

Denver Public Library

Denver Public Library won an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush grant worth over $92,000, which will allow it to conduct a comprehensive research/assessment project using an equity framework to better understand effective strategies to reshape its workforce so it reflects the diversity of the community.

What was most exciting for you about writing this grant?

“The most exciting part about writing this grant was learning about how Denver Public Library is working very hard to make its libraries places where every member of the community feels welcomed and can access the information and resources that they need. Part of that is hiring staff who reflect the community’s diversity. While writing this grant, I learned that I was very ignorant about the educational qualifications required to become a librarian—librarians need a master’s degree, which really surprised me. Because of the time and cost of earning one, the profession lacks diversity, but DPL’s grant project is going to help change that—not only in Denver but in other libraries across the country!”

What was your favorite part about the client or client’s work?

“I loved DPL long before they were ever a client. I can’t even begin to count how many books, DVDs and CDs I have borrowed from libraries and would be devastated if they ever went away. I encourage everyone to visit their local library this week.”

Colorado Department of Higher Education

The Colorado Department of Higher Education, in partnership with Colorado Community College System, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Centura Health, HealthONE, UCHealth and Colorado Rural Health Center, is set to receive $12 MILLION to support 5,000 health care apprenticeships—helping students earn college credit, make a livable wage and gain valuable work experience.

What was most exciting for you about writing this grant?

“I am so excited about this grant project! It is going to support our state by training more people for careers in health care, which are already hard to fill, but will continue to grow as our population ages and needs more health care. Because the project involves so many major healthcare industry partners, apprentices are going to be able to get their feet in the door and have a well-paying job while they learn the exact skills that employers need. After they complete their apprenticeship, they will go on to earn even higher wages with industry-recognized certifications in hand.”

What was your favorite part about the client or client’s work?

“I was thrilled to get to work with the Colorado Community College System and the Colorado Department of Higher Education again. It had been several years since we worked on a proposal together, and this was a great reunion! I am always so impressed by their strategic thinking about how to make sure that anyone who wants a higher education can get one.”

West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS)

The West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS) also applied for the same funding opportunity with the U.S. Department of Labor and also was selected to receive funding. WVCTCS was awarded just shy of $4 MILLION to support the scaling of information technology (IT) apprenticeships.

What was most exciting for you about writing this grant?

“The most exciting part of this work for me was being able to help transform West Virginia’s reputation as a coal mining state to one that trains workers for the state’s growing information technology (IT) industry. The grant project, called Apprenticeships in Motion (AIM), is going to help people in the Mountain State develop skills that are critical to being prosperous in the 21st century. People don’t realize just how important IT is to West Virginia, and AIM is going to bolster the economy by developing the state’s homegrown IT talent pool.

“And personally, I am proud that when the secretary from the U.S. Department of Labor visited West Virginia to announce the grant award, he said that WVCTCS’ application was the very best IT application they received.”

What was your favorite part about the client or client’s work?

“A common question that federal funders ask is ‘How are you going to sustain the project after the grant ends?’ Truthfully, this is a difficult question to answer for most applicants. So when I learned that WVCTCS had a very strong answer to this question, I was so excited.

“AIM was designed to dovetail with West Virginia’s financial commitment to supporting apprenticeships. The state Legislature funded a program called Learn and Earn, which matches the wages that employers pay students who are hired as apprentices while they are pursuing certificates or associate degrees. I think that a lot of other states are going to consider how they can fund programs similar to Learn and Earn after they see the great success that the state is having getting workers retrained or upskilled to be successful in new high-demand occupations.”

All pretty great, right? We certainly think so. If you do, and you think you might like to chat with Lisa and the rest of our amazing grants team, learn more about our grantwriting services here or check out our Marketplace to snag a “quick consult” with anyone on our team.