The Foundation and Amazon Business Partners for Purchasing Solutions
Supporting the system’s need for a simplified procurement process, the Foundation executed a three-year partnership with Amazon Business. This collaborative partnership is truly the first of its kind and offers a long-needed solution in streamlining efficiencies and providing a legally compliant pathway to make purchases with Amazon over the bid threshold while also providing transparency in ordering trends and implementing controls for user groups.
With this partnership, Amazon Business provides a familiar and trusted purchasing experience through a PCC-compliant contract vehicle, availing colleges with exclusive added benefits to support them through their procurement process. Amazon’s infrastructure boasts the ability to support procurement at scale with options for greater visibility for colleges through consolidation of orders, built-in analytic tools, pricing comparisons and more. These support tools are valuable in guiding colleges with their budgeting and making purchasing decisions in alignment with their organization’s needs, as well as improving campus operations. The partnership also highlights business-only pricing, free two-day shipping, and a vast inventory on hundreds of millions of products.
If your district is interested in utilizing the Amazon agreement, you may access the contract here. To learn more and/or enroll your district in Amazon Business, please contact Jodi Karroum, Customer Advisor for Higher Education at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 740-9683.
24/7/365 Student Telehealth Services Through TimelyMD
The Foundation for California Community Colleges has formed an alliance with TimelyMD, a telehealth provider specializing in higher education, to provide California Community College students access to on-demand medical and mental health services.
TimelyMD is the only student-first telehealth provider that offers a complete care solution for campus health, with on-demand medical care, on-demand mental health counseling, appointment-based counseling, psychiatric support and health coaching programs designed to meet the exact needs of any college or university. Its programs allow students at participating schools to have 24/7 access to no-cost medical and/or mental health counseling visits anytime, from licensed physicians and counselors anywhere in the United States.
Through the Foundation’s system-wide agreement, the community colleges, as well as all higher education systems in California, can choose from three different, discounted programs (Gold, Silver or Bronze) to meet the unique needs of each institution's enrolled student population. As schools or districts partner with TimelyMD and the aggregate student population grows, the entire system reaps the rewards of ongoing discounts to the TimelyMD telehealth program.
As highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Los Rios Community College District began partnering with TimelyMD this summer to better serve its 75,000 students. Calling the service “impactful and convenient,” Chancellor Brian King said, “Los Rios students are going through unprecedented times, especially with the stresses caused by the pandemic, and we know this 24/7 support will make a genuine difference in their lives.”
Virtual access to medical and mental health counseling has never been more important, especially for students who are learning remotely, need care after hours and want to access care immediately on their device. For more information on how to bring on-demand medical and mental health care to your campus through telehealth with TimelyMD, please visit Timely.md/collegebuys.
Improving Customer Service with Ocelot Chatbots
The Foundation offers a contract with Ocelot for their chatbot platform, which includes multilingual AI chat, live chat support, Zoom connectivity, SIS integration, text campaigns and more. The agreement provides heavily discounted pricing for CCCs and is a great way to reduce costs and expand the impact of chatbots across campus. Over 70 community colleges are using Ocelot AI chatbots to provide 24/7/365 access, ensuring no student is left behind, and helping staff to “do more with less”. The chatbot supports campus-wide student service departments including admissions, financial aid, EOPS/CARE, marketing and IT Helpdesk.
Chabot usage increased by 262% in the 90 days since COVID hit. Over 20 CCCs have already taken advantage of the Foundation contract since it was signed in April. DeAnza College President, Lloyd Holmes, explains why AI chatbots are vital in this 2 minute video. Bakersfield College is currently using Ocelot’s chatbot to support their college campus wide. In one month, their chatbot answered over 18,000 student questions. Additionally, MiraCosta College had over 1,000 student conversations in the first 10 days of their chatbot launch.
Sustainable Options Through Contracts with Powerflex, UCM, and MetaBIM
In alignment with the California Community Colleges sustainability efforts, the Foundation secured agreements with Powerflex for EV chargers, Utility Cost Management (UCM) for utility bill auditing, and MetaBIM for facilities planning. These contracts aim to provide sustainable options that institute practices in waste reduction by increasing overall product efficiency and effectiveness. The agreements serve to support the CCC system’s adherence to sustainable procurement requirements in minimizing environmental impacts, toxins, pollution and hazards to workers and community safety.
ACCCA and CollegeBuys Co-Host Webinar Discussing Race in the Workplace
On July 16, 2020, CollegeBuys partnered with the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) to host a systemwide webinar titled, “How to Have Difficult Conversations About Race in the Workplace”. This webinar was hosted by the President of Evergreen College, Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson, and the Director of the American Negotiation Institute, Kwame Christian, Esq., M.A., who is a subject matter expert in negotiation and conflict resolution.
Kwame spoke to two distinct audiences: first, people currently taking action (who he labeled “allies”) and people considering taking action (“potential allies”). He suggested turning passion into persuasion in order to reach a desired outcome – whether that be shared understanding, changed policy, protocol, or behavior – by focusing on your goals, the person whose behavior you’re looking to change, accountability (versus shame), impact, persistent, positive pressure, and recognition that change requires a long, uncomfortable journey.
For those who are just getting involved in the conversation around race, Kwame noted that small steps are greater than inaction, which can be perceived as being indifferent or even complicit. With the recognition that many may feel overwhelmed at where to start, Kwame offered the following advice: “Issues with equity are everywhere, so choose one. Start small, identify immediate actions, and hold yourself accountable.” He went on to provide many tips for having difficult conversations from both perspectives, acknowledging and validating emotions, and making space for joint problem-solving. You can access the webinar recording here.
Celebrating Race in the Workplace
Only July 23, 2020, Brett Chaponot, CollegeBuys Program Manager, and Chris Pogue, Program Assistant, co-hosted the team’s monthly professional development training to discuss “Celebrating Race in the Workplace”. Brett and Chris began their presentation with a McKinsey Report that surveyed 366 public companies across Canada, Latin America, the UK, and the US, which concluded that a diverse workforce is 35% more likely to produce above-average returns compared to their contemporaries. They then dove into focus questions that explored the team’s personal experiences with race and how that has affected their current identity. Opening up about the personal experiences and perspectives gave everyone an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of each other and see why we are attracted to the mission-driven work we do.
21-Day Equity Challenge
In collaboration with the Foundation’s Equity team, CollegeBuys is embarking on a “21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge”, beginning August 17 to September 15. The challenge will provide an opportunity to learn and reflect on racial equity in relation to our work. Daily activities will include, but are not limited to, podcasts, reading, and videos that form and deepen community connections and racial understanding. CollegeBuys is meeting on a weekly basis to reflect, using focus questions to facilitate the takeaways from the activities, and to share our growth with the team. If you are interested in learning more about how you and your team can engage in the 21-day challenge, visit Debby Irving's 21-Day Challenge.
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