Partner Spotlight – Austin Community College District (ACC)

By Jeff Sanchez | JANUARY 11, 2023

Partnerships are crucial to Capital IDEA’s success. From donors to employers to education providers, our success and the success of our students depends on the quality of our partnerships. One key partnership that has been in place since Capital IDEA’s founding is with Central Texas’s largest education and training provider, Austin Community College District (ACC). The majority of our students attend and earn their degrees at ACC, and it is because of the exceptional educational services ACC offers that our graduates have the cutting-edge training they need to compete in today’s workforce.

As partners for nearly 25 years, ACC and Capital IDEA have worked together to transform the lives of thousands of Central Texas adults, lifting them out of low-income situations and into high-earning careers. Throughout those two and a half decades of partnership, many ACC employees, from advisors to professors to administrators, have contributed to the growth of Capital IDEA by referring students to our award-winning Career Expressway program. In fact, “ACC referred me,” consistently ranks in the top 5 reasons students find their way to Capital IDEA.

Today, it is our pleasure to feature two ACC administrators who share a mission to connect students with the abundant support and resources available to them, both on campus and through partnerships, Roxane and Roman.

Roxane Royalty is the college’s Executive Dean of Student Affairs for the North Region at ACC. She oversees Student Affairs services within the Campus dean’s areas of responsibilities across six of the college’s 11 campuses and believes the services they offer are enhanced with partnerships like Capital IDEA, “I see it as a mutual benefit. There’s so much to gain from what organizations can do for each other.” Roxane has been an avid supporter of Capital IDEA throughout her 13-year career at ACC. From her time as a counselor at Northridge Campus to where she is today, Roxane was key in advancing pivotal initiatives for Capital IDEA, like organizing a summer event for re-enrolling Capital IDEA students who had left the program and wanted to come back.

Roman Escamilla, Ed.D., is the college’s Dean of Student Affairs at ACC Highland Campus. The Student Affairs office support students in numerous ways, like degree planning, career planning, and of course, connecting students to outside resources like Capital IDEA. “Student Affairs is a support service of the college,” said Roman, “We’re here to help support students to be successful.” Roman started his career in the ACC Continuing Education Division, working alongside Dr. Hector Aguilar, ACC’s Dean of Continuing Education and long-time collaborator with Capital IDEA. That’s where he learned about our program. “I remember when I first heard about Capital IDEA. I asked how it worked. At first, I thought they were going to have their own school, but then I was told that the students are sponsored by Capital IDEA, and they’re enrolled in ACC programs and managed all the way through. That sounded awesome! To have an organization that can work in collaboration with the college is incredible.”

“To have an organization that can work in collaboration with the college is incredible.”

– Roman Escamilla, Dean of Student Affairs at ACC Highland Campus

In addition to educational services, ACC also provides office space for Capital IDEA staff at its Highland Campus, making it easier and more convenient for Capital IDEA students to connect with all the supports available to them. They’ve also welcomed Capital IDEA staff into ACC Advisor staff meetings to present on the Career Expressway program and benefits. Roman sees this type of synergy and open communication as beneficial to maintaining a solid partnership, “When Capital IDEA keeps us informed of the latest and greatest things that are going on, that helps me. Part of my role is to be a conduit to the students from every department, and if I hear of someone who needs the kind of help Capital IDEA offers, then I can connect them.”

The strong partnership between Capital IDEA and ACC can be attributed to each organization’s mutual passion for helping students succeed. “It’s like somebody’s helping you do your job and for the same reasons,” says Roxane about Capital IDEA, “That’s a partner and an ally.” Capital IDEA Deputy Executive Director Eva Rios-Lleverino echoes that sentiment, “We work well together because they’re very student oriented and passionate about helping students. It’s what’s front-and-center for all of us. In addition to hosting the summer event to re-enroll students and the opportunities to present to ACC staff, they’ve also helped smooth the way for our students in other ways. One example that comes to mind is helping us find a way to get more of our applicants to complete the college entrance exam. We were struggling with that, and they helped us find a solution that has worked great!”

“It’s like somebody’s helping you do your job and for the same reasons. That’s a partner and an ally.”

– Roxane Royalty, Executive Dean of Student Affairs for the North Region at ACC

Roxane’s and Roman’s passion for students is unwavering, and they’re both eager to do even more. Roman would like students to know that “Student Affairs is here to help your learning experience be the best it can be. Whatever you need, whether you’re in trouble, in good graces, need assistance, have a question, or just need directions to the bathroom, we’re here to help.” Similarly, Roxane wants to remind students that “We care. Whatever your goals are, we care about your success — whatever that translates into for you. Let us know how we can serve you better, because we want to.” You can find Roman in the Student Affairs office at Highland Campus, Building 1000, on the second floor just past the social staircase. You can also find Student Services online at: austincc.edu/student-support or email them at student.success@austincc.edu.

“Austin Community College is a vital partner in our shared goal of helping students from enrollment to completion to employment.”

– Alyssia Palacios-Woods, Executive Director, Capital IDEA

Capital IDEA is honored to have such a great partnership with ACC. Capital IDEA Executive Director Alyssia Palacios-Woods describes the partnership this way, “Austin Community College is a vital partner in our shared goal of helping students from enrollment to completion to employment. ACC’s commitment to meeting the needs of today’s students both inside and outside the classroom, coupled with Capital IDEA’s intensive career navigator and wrap-around support, offers a holistic approach to ensuring students from all backgrounds can succeed.” We look forward to the months and years ahead as we continue our strategic work together to lift working adults out of poverty and into living-wage careers through education and career advancement.

To learn more about our programs or if you’re interested in becoming an employer partner, you can visit our website at www.capitalidea.org or call us at 512-457-8610.

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