College Renaissance Corps earns nearly $800,000 in grants from ECMC and Lumina Foundation

Funds will be used to recruit more advanced manufacturing students into CRCorps at community colleges in Houston.

College Renaissance Corps (CRCorps), Campus Compact's new national leadership program that launched its first cohort in Houston in the fall, received nearly $800,000 in funding from Lumina Foundation and the ECMC Foundation in its first year. The funding has allowed the team to grow—supporting the 48-week, $24,000 stipends awarded to this year's CRCorps Industry Ambassadors, who are all pursuing careers in welding. 

The Houston CRCorps team is actively recruiting students for next year's program thanks to continued support from their funders, and CRCorps anticipates expanding to Chicago, Michigan, New Orleans, and North Carolina in the next year as part of its ambitious vision to build a pipeline of talent that will meet the needs of the advanced manufacturing sector nationally. 

“We at CRCorps, strive to shape a more diverse workforce and build an inclusive economy by connecting community college students to leadership, service, and work opportunities,” said CRCorps National Director Eric Lugo. “The funding we’ve secured has fueled our mission, allowing us to grow our team, expand our geographic reach, and foster partnerships with employers so that we can support more students.” 

Through its Industry Ambassador program, CRCorps aims to develop viable solutions that address pressing challenges like economic instability, youth disengagement, unemployment, and limited access to education skills training while also narrowing the growing skills gap in high-demand industries like advanced manufacturing, IT, and logistics.

“CRCorps stands as a testament to the kind of initiatives ECMC seeks to support—those that offer practical solutions to current challenges in higher education while also pushing for broader, systemic improvements that will benefit students from underserved backgrounds,” said Stephen Handel, ECMC’s director of strategy, postsecondary education transformation. 

CRCorps nurtures the leadership abilities of community college students across the country by helping them gain industry work experience and build a network with their peers and industry leaders.

“We are pleased to support CRCorps in their mission to use national service as a means of workforce development and to invest in community college students' leadership abilities,” said Chauncy Lennon, Lumina’s vice president for learning and work and senior strategy advisor. “Their goal of making opportunities accessible to all is directly in line with our mission of preparing everyone for a global future.” 

Students actively participate in service initiatives through AmeriCorps and are encouraged to become leaders who will continue uplifting their community long beyond their tenure in the program. Through their service, they support college recruitment and mentorship initiatives, connect with employers through work-based learning experiences, and create engaging social media content that informs communities on career pathways in high-demand fields.

CRCorps an AmeriCorps State and National program. For more information, visit compact.org/crcorps.