By Patrick Tompkins, Vice President of Academic, Student, and Workforce programs at ESCC
“We Can Help.” It’s a welcome offer in these challenging times, bringing comfort, relief, and hope for health and brighter days. We call ourselves YOUR Eastern Shore Community College because we are much more than a school, we are a servant in our community. Of course our primary focus is on education and workforce training, but we care in much larger ways.
Like the Eastern Shore itself, ESCC plays a nurturing and supportive role that is a benefit of small town life, where personal connections and interactions are the norm, even in this new age of “social distancing.”
When the coronavirus hit the Shore, we asked our college coaches to personally contact over 1000 current and former students. Our first question was not about school, it was about caring: “How are you and your family doing?” From responses to those questions, we connected students to food, unemployment support, technology, and many other resources.
But we’re not new at caring—we’ve been doing it for a long time. The food bank distributes on our campus and we provide free, healthy snacks to our students every day the campus is open. Our staff and students volunteer in the community, such as with the Shore Delivery Corps, which delivers food to those who need it.
We host blood drives, and our 3D printer continues to add to the 50 filtrating Montana Masks we’ve distributed to first responders and others on the front line. We have donated supplies and equipment to health providers, and we are aggressively educating our community about CDC health safety guidelines.
Although our buildings are closed, all services remain available through staff who telework while also frequently raising children or caring for others in their homes. Our ESCC Supports team connects students to resources, such as transportation and childcare, and provides direct funding in some cases. Our personal touch and culture of hospitality mean familiar friends and neighbors at the college make an impact in many ways.
We are gearing up to distribute $250,000 in federal CARES funding directly to almost 400 students to help support them during this difficult time. The CARES act was enacted into law to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Of course, we also provide high-quality, low-cost educational opportunities. We are able to offer virtually every student some scholarship funding, in addition to federal and state financial aid. This means our students can graduate with no student loan debt.
We have career pathways that lead directly to high wage jobs in healthcare, manufacturing, information technology, and trades. We are ensuring our spring dual enrollment students in high schools in Accomack, Northampton, and Broadwater Academy have paths to completion and are awarded credit.
At a time when our neighbors may be concerned about living on the campus of a four-year school in August, Your Eastern Shore Community College offers excellence in higher education near your house. Our transfer pathways allow students to complete the first two years of a bachelor’s degree close to home, at less than one-third the cost of the least expensive state university, and with guaranteed transfer of degrees and credits.
And we won’t stop. We’re enrolling students for online and on-campus classes for both summer and fall. If we need to continue with remote instruction, we will do so with enhanced support for students. We are a community college leader in offering 8-week class sessions so students can focus on fewer classes at a time and earn credits more quickly. We invite students to continue their educational journey with us in the fall and then transfer to a four-year school in the spring without falling a semester behind in credits.
We can help you continue your current educational pursuits, help you finish what you’ve started, or maybe even most importantly, help you reinvent your path to success.
YES! We are Your Eastern Shore Community College. Let us know how we can help.
Dr. Patrick Tompkins serves as Vice President of Academic, Student, and Workforce programs at ESCC. Connect with Your Eastern Shore Community College’s culture of YES! at es.vccs.edu/, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 757-789-1720.