CollegeBuys Quarterly March 2021 | 3rd quarter

This March marks one year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic - hard to believe, right? Despite traversing through uncharted waters both at work and at home, we have adapted, persevered, and proven ourselves as resilient. Over the past year, the CCC purchasing community has secured PPE for their districts despite a global shortage, thousands of laptops and WiFi hotspots for students learning from home, and numerous new solutions and services such as contact tracing and COVID testing that were unheard of over a year ago. All the while, our community has supported each other by bringing new requirements to our attention, sharing best practices and solutions - truly coming together to navigate this unprecedented time. It has been a tough and hectic year, but the level of support the purchasing community provides for their colleagues, staff, and students is truly admirable.

Since our last edition, the Foundation successfully secured new agreements for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing - a great step forward for the system as campuses prepare for in-person instruction and operations. Information about these new contracts may be found below in the newsletter, along with your quarterly updates on RFPs, NCCCPG & SCCCPA, and system conferences. Also included is information regarding the Census, and a spotlight on the late Les Littman for his impacts on the purchasing community. If you have any questions about the information provided, please contact the CollegeBuys Concierge Service at cbcontracts@foundationccc.org.

Census Release Delayed to September

In early February, the “Census Bureau concluded that it cannot release the population figures needed for drawing new districts for state legislatures and the House of Representatives until late September” (New York Times Article). This delayed timetable will further delay the ability of our colleges to begin drawing draft plans for jurisdictions. Based on our state’s processes and waiting periods, the first maps drawn will likely not occur until late October or November.

There is a silver lining, however; as this delay provides our colleges more time to address redistricting issues - holding outreach meetings, gathering community of interest testimony, or holding other pre-map hearings and redistricting activities can all begin now. If you’d like more information about how Redistricting Partners can support your district in this endeavor, please reach out to the CollegeBuys Team (FCCC-Redistricting Partners Agreement).

The Foundation's New Piggybackable Contracts

Since our last newsletter update, CollegeBuys has secured 9 new agreements, including COVID testing and contact tracing. Please see below for a summary of our newly executed contracts. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the CollegeBuys Concierge Service at cbcontracts@foundationccc.org.

  1. Biocept - Provides turnkey solutions for COVID-19 PCR testing. (Contract)
  2. CDW-G (Professional Services) - Offers professional, field, and consulting IT services at discounted hourly rates. (Contract)
  3. Fulgent - Provides turnkey solutions for COVID-19 PCR testing. (Contract)
  4. Leepfrog - Offers electronic curriculum management and catalog and planning solutions. (Contract)
  5. Modo Labs - Provides a no-code/low-code app-building platform that offers enterprise-scale mobile engagement and communication capabilities. (Contract)
  6. Nxt Gen Technologies (trase.app) - Offers the trase platform, a safe, secure method of compiling employee data on their presence on campus as required by AB685. (Contract)
  7. Plante Moran - Provides a broad range of services, including IT assessment and IT strategic planning, IT consulting, cybersecurity assessments, and data analytics. Their consultants help clients anticipate challenges, manage risk, streamline operations, harness legacy costs, and leverage technology. (Contract)
  8. QLess - Offers an online queue management system. (Contract)
  9. Virus Geeks - Provides turnkey solutions for COVID-19 PCR testing. (Contract)

California Community Colleges Support Students with TimelyMD Telehealth

Community colleges across California faced a daunting challenge as COVID-19 spread across the country. Students of color, low-income and working-class students were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, both physically and economically. Even prior to the pandemic, the CCCs were estimated to have a 7,000:1 student to counselor ratio, which puts incredible stress on campus mental health services. The need for emotional support continues to rise, with 89% of college students reporting that they’re experiencing stress or anxiety due to the pandemic. Similarly, California students reported a large increase in worry and anxiety related to paying for and attending school, meeting their basic needs (i.e. food, housing, healthcare), and maintaining the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families.

Leaders at Los Rios CCD, Modesto Junior College and Porterville College responded to the growing need for virtual healthcare services for thousands of students by engaging a strategic telehealth partner, TimelyMD, to quickly meet the need for medical and mental health care. TimelyMD worked with campus leaders to understand the unique needs of each campus and created a customized telehealth program for their students. Since the launch of these programs, 56% of students sought after-hours visits at no cost to them when care wasn’t available from on-campus resources. This is a great turnout, considering that 82% of students surveyed reported they would “do nothing” if TimelyMD wasn’t available.

Through the FCCC agreement, all 116 community colleges have the opportunity to provide students access to on-demand and scheduled medical support from board-certified or board-eligible clinicians, as well as on-demand mental and emotional support from licensed counselors and behavioral health specialists.

PowerFlex EV Charging Solutions

Powerflex emerged in 2017 when founder, George Lee, realized a huge lack of electric vehicle charging stations on campus at the California Institute of Technology, where he was attending graduate school. Since its inception, PowerFlex has installed over 2,000 electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) at colleges and universities, municipalities, workplaces, and for fleets, filling a critical gap in the market. Their NEC-compliant Adaptive Load Management (ALM), a panel-sharing power management system, allows for the over-subscription of electrical service, minimizing peak demand spikes and avoiding costly electrical infrastructure upgrades. This allows PowerFlex to install up to 4x the number of charging stations compared to other EVSE vendors and can reduce energy bills by 60%. PowerFlex’s success led to their strategic acquisition by EDF Renewables in late-2019 to integrate both distributed and grid scale renewable energy systems, which accelerated the deployment of nearly 5,000 ALM EVSE with 10,000 in the pipeline.

Thanks to their partnership with the Foundation, Los Angeles CCD and Mission College have been able to fast track the procurement process. For LACCD, this meant taking advantage of rebates requiring quick turnarounds for funding applications. At Mission College, PowerFlex installed 75 Level 2 and two DC Fast Chargers for use by faculty, students, and the surrounding community, which brings Mission College closer to their goal of a sustainable future, as remarked by President Daniel Peck:

“Mission College is committed to building a more sustainable future. Installing electric vehicle chargers is one component, but even more valuable is the opportunity to install a robust charging system that would serve our community well into the future. PowerFlex had the hardware solution we needed but have also proven themselves to be a valuable partner in other ways, including grant application guidance, and design and installation assistance. We look forward to working with PowerFlex well into the future.”

PowerFlex’s business model is to maximize lucrative EV Charging incentives across California that are intended to expedite the installation of charging infrastructure ahead of EV demand. By partnering with PowerFlex, all operational costs including Networking and O&M Services are waived in exchange for Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits. To inquire about available incentives in your area and develop an EV infrastructure strategy, please contact PowerFlex at info@powerflex.com or (317) 517-1838. PowerFlex Product and Services Guide can be found online here.

Take Advantage of Free HEERF II Funding Now Before the April 15 Deadline

During 2020, the pandemic forced overnight change in how healthcare pursued simulation-based education. Much of healthcare education went virtual and simulation became an even greater substitute for clinical time. And, the demand for greater student throughput only increased with America’s hospitals urgent need for more nurses.

The trends from 2020 have continued into 2021 and now, federal relief grant funding is available to help. Through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II, the Federal Government has allocated over $21 Billion to institutions of higher education to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, under the original HEERF program, many Laerdal clients benefitted from this funding.

Laerdal has created this special web page intended to help you and your organization navigate your eligibility and the possible uses of this funding, as well as funding-compatible products. You can find out if your institution has already qualified for supplemental funding through HEERF II. If your organization is not included on the list, you can (and must) submit your application no later than April 15, 2021. In certain regions, Laerdal is offering a special promotion to accompany the HEERF II funding. Please reach out to your Laerdal representative to confirm if a special promotion applies.

A Welcome Re-Entry Strategy with Crider Contract Interiors

Reopening strategies continue to be the topic of conversation, as colleges prepare for bringing students and staff back to campus. Capitalizing on providing outdoor destinations for gathering offers a safer option to indoor studying, gathering, and waiting. Since the inception of the Foundation’s agreement with Crider for a wide range of shade, site and solar furnitures for colleges and universities, there has been a steady increase of interest in planning outdoor spaces. The agreement includes design and space-planning, enabling campuses to leverage a blend of 17 manufacturer product lines. Bringing color, shade, solar power and comfortable seating to otherwise under-utilized real estate is greatly appreciated by students, staff and guests coming to campus. Several campuses will see installations in the next few months in preparation of Fall classes, which we will be sure to share in a later edition.

If you are interested in learning more about Crider Contract Interiors, a local woman-owned dealer in Southern California and the product lines offered through the Foundation’s agreement, please feel free to reach out to Meg Crider, President at megcrider@cridercontractinteriors.com.

FCCC Expands Partnership with CDW to Offer Professional Services

The Foundation is excited to announce that it has executed its second agreement with CDW-G to provide professional, field, and consulting IT services at discounted hourly rates. These services complement the Foundation’s existing agreement with CDW-G (CB-185-17) for IT hardware and software, which now enables CDW-G to provide full turnkey solutions for your district’s technology needs.

As colleges are preparing returns to campus, this new contract will support an efficient and safe transition. In addition to hardware and software, CDW-G can assist with customized services, including IT security, public safety, vaccine administration, eSports, and classroom transformation to support hybrid learning. Other benefits of the agreement include:

  • Ability to develop project-based Statement of Work.
  • Consulting services that reduce the complexity of client’s IT environment.
  • Security consultants who improve the maturity and scope of existing security and advises an organization’s security strategy and planning initiatives.
  • Technical support services experts to support IT teams.
  • Customer-designated locations providing services benefitting specific locations.

If you are interested in using the CDW-G professional services agreement, please contact cbcontracts@foundationccc.org for more information, or reach out directly to Shannon Lee Day, Territory Sales Manager – HiEd Pacific, at shanday@cdw.com.

Systemwide RFP Update

The Foundation began 2021 with plans to launch four (4) RFPs to make up for the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although a hefty task, the Foundation was determined to secure new agreements in time for a seamless transition for the system. These four RFPs included Janitorial Supplies and Equipment (21-001), Personal Computer/Computing Peripherals (21-002), Office Products (21-003), and LED Luminaires (21-004).

The first to be released was Janitorial Supplies, which opened on January 14 and closed on February 25. It is currently being evaluated by a committee consisting of your purchasing colleagues from Long Beach CCD, LACCD, Sierra Joint CCD, Lake Tahoe CCD, as well as CSU. In addition, the Foundation currently has open IT/PC Peripherals. RFP committee members represent Long Beach CCD, LACCD, Foothill-De Anza CCD, and South Orange County CCD. The resulting contracts from these RFPs are anticipated to be executed by the end of Q3.

In late March, the Foundation will release the Office Products RFP, adding COVID-related office products and PPE to the core list of items. Following shortly after is the release of LED Luminaires in April, which will add interior lighting in addition to a turnkey option. The Foundation anticipates awarding these contracts in June before the end of the fiscal year.

If you are interested in being on the evaluation committee for the LED Luminaires RFP, please reach out to Jorge Burwick, Operations Manager, jburwick@foundationccc.org.

Regional Updates: NCCCPG & SCCCPA

Monthly Joint Meetings Reformatted to Include Procurement & Contract Trainings

In an effort to bring professional development opportunities to the California Community Colleges purchasing community, the Regional Co-Chairs have made the decision to reformat the Joint Meetings to allow for a more robust agenda. The agenda now includes a 15-minute guest speaker slot, as well as a 1-hour procurement and contracting training session. This idea came to light when a number of our colleagues expressed interest in additional training, especially as policies and standards evolve and as new folks enter the purchasing world. The CollegeBuys Advisory Board has taken the lead in crafting course topics, now calling the training series “Elevating CA CCD Purchasing and Contracting to World Class Standards”, in which Advisory Board members and volunteers will take turns to present on contract and procurement-related topics each month. This is a great opportunity for our colleagues to learn from each other, and contributes to the greater goal of standardizing the purchasing and contracting processes across districts.

To kick off the first training in February, Mina Hernandez of MiraCosta CCD and Priya Jerome of South Orange County CCD, presented their topic, “Contract Exposure: Why Contract Review and Compliance Matters” (link). Following in March was CollegeBuys’ presentation, “Leveraging FCCC Agreements thru PCC 20661 and 20653.5” (link). These presentations are housed here, where all past and future presentations will be stored.

To ensure that we are meeting the needs of the group, we would greatly appreciate your feedback on our list of presentation topics, which you can submit by completing this SurveyMonkey by Wednesday, March 31. You can also sign up to present by emailing Nouriyah Saleh, Program Coordinator, at nsaleh@foundationccc.org.

If you have any questions, or need to be added to the CCCProcurement listserv, please reach out to Nouriyah.

Spotlight: Remembering Les Littman by Ben Cayabyab

Les Littman, pictured center, next to Ben Cayabyab.

Les Littman who served as Director of Purchasing and Contracts for Contra Costa County Community College District from 1999 to 2008 was a pioneer in the public procurement profession. In 2005, Les led the introduction of e-procurement to the California Community Colleges system before anyone had even heard of it. Les was a visionary, a collaborator, and a friend. He was a great many things, and for me, his most lasting legacy is the culture of collaboration that our community college procurement professionals now enjoy and benefit from.

Alongside another legend named Spence Cooper, they founded in 2000 what is known today as the Northern California Community College Purchasers Group – a regional pillar of systemwide procurement collaboration.

What they started out as a loose confederation of several community colleges to leverage their buying power in procuring commodities such as paper and janitorial supplies grew and became a formal collaboration delivering professional development opportunities to new and veteran buyers during our quarterly convenings. The group became a model of collaboration for many adjacent professional associations and groups. It was instrumental to the success of hundreds of community college buyers, including myself. Many of what we’ve learned endures to present day and have evolved to reflect the growth of our procurement community. I am proud to say that Les planted that seed that now stands mightily and united as a confederation of community college procurement professionals whose core DNA is collaboration and development.

In 2007, Les guided the Contra Costa Community College Purchasing Department in obtaining their first and only Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award. Unfortunately, in 2008, Les suddenly passed away. Though he is no longer physically with us, he left a legacy that is still remembered today. Les was a quiet, humble man, but his knowledge spoke loudly for him, which, to me, made him one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever come across. He continues to be missed, and many who remember him, continue to be thankful for Les.

In Case You Missed It: Webinars!

Community Insights Report: Examining Equity on Campus using Data, What Matters Most

On December 3, 2020, Civitas Learning held a webinar to discuss emerging trends in removing the barriers that improved equity from a review of more than 300 student success initiatives. Supported by their findings, they touched upon the following topics:

  • The risk in highlighting academic struggle with automated alerts
  • The importance of intersectionality and taking a comprehensive look in delivering personalized care and support
  • The impact of different programs on a variety of student subsets
  • How Civitas Learning can partner with your institution to achieve equitable and sustainable outcomes

For more information about the Civitas Learning agreement and all the work they are doing to improve the student experience, please contact Amber St. John at amber.stjohn@civitaslearning.com. Act fast to take advantage of their special contract promotions that will expire at the end of March 2021, which includes no implementation fee, first year free with a five-year commitment, 50% off with a three-year commitment, and a 60% discount on all products and services provided to the California Community College System.

FoundationCCC & Amazon New Partnership Q&A

Amazon hosted two 30-minute informational sessions on February 25 and March 1 for the CCCs to learn more about the Amazon-FCCC partnership and how they can use Amazon Business to support and streamline their local purchasing processes. Jodi Karroum, Amazon Customer Advisor, covered the following topics in her presentation:

  • Overcoming key procurement challenges
  • Amazon Business solutions to assist district purchasing policies
  • Improving spend visibility, operational efficiency, and contractual compliance
  • Simplify the buying experience across your district.

If you’re interested in learning more about how your district can take advantage of the benefits provided through this agreement, feel free to reach out to Jodi at karroumj@amazon.com.

Leveraging Mobile Wallets to Recruit and Retain Students

On February 24, Peter Drew and Joe Behlke of ACI Payments hosted a webinar to explore the benefits of mobile wallet billing, payments, and notifications. They covered the following topics in their presentation:

  • Using notifications to connect with and retain students
  • Leveraging mobile wallet communication for recruitment of future students and alumni engagement
  • Faster provisioning, ongoing cost savings, and increased student/staff satisfaction

For more information on ACI, feel free to contact Peter Drew at peter.drew@aciworldwide.com and/or Joe Behlke at joe.behlke@aciworldwide.com.

Providing Holistic Online Services: Orientation, Student Success Workshops & Professional Development

Innovative Educators held their first webinar since the launch of the Foundation partnership, on February 18 to educate the CCCs on their technology-based solutions, which help onboard and retain students, provide support services to parents and families, deliver professional development for faculty and staff, and provide online tutor training. Their session consisted of a tour of each service, examples, and case studies from the CCCs.

If you’re interested in learning more about the FCCC-Innovative Educators (IE) agreement and would like to contact IE directly, please reach out to our representative, Valerie Kisiel at val@ieinfo.org.

How to Secure Funding for Mental Health Initiatives

For Care Solace’s second installment of their Higher Ed Community Series on February 17, they invited Dr. Larry Resendez, VP of Student Services at Los Angeles Mission College, and Kevin Gordon, the President of Capitol Advisors Group, who discussed ways that institutions can fund different mental health initiatives.

If you’re interested in learning more about the FCCC-Care Solace agreement and would like to contact Care Solace directly, please reach out to our representative, Sina Shayesteh at sina@caresolace.org.

Missed a webinar? We have created the CollegeBuys Webinar Library where you can find available presentations and recordings from previous webinars. Feel free to reach out to Nouriyah Saleh, Program Coordinator, at nsaleh@foundationccc.org if you have any questions.

Upcoming Webinars

Amazon & Los Rios CCD | Tuesday, April 6, 11:00-11:30am PST

Join to learn how and why your colleagues, Paula Gordon and Kim Carrillo, from the Los Rios Purchasing Team use Amazon Business to drive transparency, capture spend information, and reshape buying. Stay tuned for the registration link.

Huron Consulting Group | Post-Pandemic Planning: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Headed | Thursday, April 8, 10-11am PST

This webinar will provide a retrospective on COVID-19’s impact, considerations for the immediate future, and directions as institutions emerge from the pandemic. Stay tuned for the registration link.


Updates & Recaps

CCC Purchasing Conference Update

In September 2020, CollegeBuys hosted the Purchasing Conference virtually for the first time ever, with hopes to resume an in-person conference in Fall 2021. However, after careful consideration and evaluating feedback from the Advisory Board as well as districts across the state, CollegeBuys decided to postpone the event to April 2022. To ensure we still have set aside time to connect and learn about important topics impacting procurement, CollegeBuys has plans to host a Fall Forum in a virtual format. Please stay tuned for more details in the following months.

NeoCon Offers Free Virtual Programs Leading Up to Annual Conference

NeoCon is one of the world’s largest expositions for the commercial design industry where major manufacturers and hot emerging companies showcase thousands of new products and services in furniture, fabrics, flooring, interior building products, interior finishes and technology. This year, NeoCon is thrilled to offer a compelling series of virtual topical and educational programs, beginning this month through their physical event in October. To kick off the series, they will host “A Return to Togetherness: Designing the Next Workplace” on March 24-25. The event will feature the following topics and speakers:

Thursday, March 24

  • 9-10am PST: “The Office as an Ecosystem” by Gemma Ribertie (WGSN) - Register Here
  • 11am-12pm PST: “The Power of Together: Reimagining Our Future Workplaces” by Eric Kline (Adobe), Natalie Engels (Gensler), and Randy Howder (Gensler) - Register Here
  • 1-2pm PST: “The Power of Place - The New Next Workplace” by Daniel Herriott (HOK), Gale Moutrey (Steelcase Inc.), and Diana Stanisic (HOK) - Register Here

Friday, March 25

  • 9-10am PST: “How Other Design Sectors Can Influence the Future of Workplace Design” by Eric Yorath (Figure3), Mardi Najafi (Figure3), Bob Fox (FOX Architects), and Sherif Ayad (IDDI) - Register Here
  • 11am-12pm PST: “Changing the Face of Design - How the Design Industry is Supporting the Workforce Differently” by Neil Schneider (IA Interior Architects), Guy Messick (IA Interior Architects), Tish Kruse (IA Interior Architects), and Moderated by Ray Ehscheid (IA Interior Architects) - Register Here

To visit the event page, click here.

CISOA Virtual Technology Summit

Coalescing Best Practices in a New Digital Climate

In February, CollegeBuys had the pleasure of attending and supporting the Chief Information Systems Officers Association (CISOA) Virtual Technology Summit. CISOA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting technology leadership in the California Community College System. The Virtual Technology Summit brings together forward thinkers and experts in the information technology arena to benefit California Community College Students.

Though CISOA is an organization predicated on information systems and technology professionals, the robust nature of the sessions appeal to almost anyone working in higher education - cloud-based sessions for campuses trying to improve process collaboration and management – generally and specifically through enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices in virtual learning, information security, legal compliance, and statewide initiatives for district and campus stakeholders. Lastly, but probably the most poignant of the event – technical planning and IT leadership.

Conference sessions pertaining to CISOA’s IT initiatives and other notable sessions are listed below.


Statewide Initiatives

Technical, Planning, IT Leadership

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The virtual conference also provided unique opportunities for interaction between vendors and attendees. CollegeBuys contract partnerships were well represented in support of the conference as sponsors, as well as subject matter experts in many co-presented sessions. Civitas Learning, a company that is improving student success through analytics presented on how campuses can make the most of their IT investments infrastructure to support student success. (Contact Amber St. John to take advantage of Civitas’ special pricing discounts, as they will expire at the end of March 2021.) BIO-Key touched on their new authentication software, Portal Guard, that streamlines single sign on portals and can adjust authentication needs to fit any business operation. Okta is providing cloud services that improve uptime* by not forcing a shut down for system updates and maintenance.

For attendees, the event was a wonderful way to stay sharp, collaborate with peers, and find solutions to common challenges in the digital education space. For sponsors, the conference demonstrated the tenacity that corporate partners must embody to create innovative process and system improvements for California Community Colleges. CISOA’s next annual conference is being planned for February 20-24, 2022, updates can be found at https://cisoa.org/conferences/.

* Uptime: time during which a machine, especially a computer, is in operation.

Cal LAW Hosts 6th Annual Summit in Partnership with the Foundation

The California Law Pathways Program (Cal LAW) hosted its 6th annual Pathway to Law Summit on February 17th – 19th. As the fiscal sponsor of the Cal LAW program, the Foundation is proud to support Cal LAW’s mission and work of providing a clear educational pipeline for the diverse pool of students from high schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions into law schools or law-related careers. This year’s Summit drew focus on the theme “Tackling Civil Rights and Racial Injustice in a Pandemic”, bringing forth a convening of legal professionals, educators, and students across the region for invaluable conversations, learning opportunities, and to listen in on the journeys of peers and mentors in the legal field.

This year’s Summit drew in over 300 registrants over the span of three (3) days. Attendees were invited to participate and/or listen in on the sessions presented by our Pathway Partners and volunteers. Topics ranged from de-stressing during COVID times, to preparing for the workplace, to lessons learned from college and law school.

The Annual Summit also provides a platform for us to (1) welcome new Pathway Partners, (2) give recognition to organizations and institutions who are ardent champions of Diversity, (3) recognize and award students for their academic achievements, and (4) recognize outstanding efforts of law-related educational programs that train and support students to become interested in the judicial system and careers in the law.

The Foundation has continuously worked to increase system-wide resources, improving higher education opportunities throughout the state by partnering with programs such as Cal LAW. We look forward to the continued success and collaboration of this program and others to support our vast system and its diverse population.

Please visit here to learn more about the Cal LAW program.


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