OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Johnson County Community College is partnering the the county health department and Advent Health to help get its staff vaccinated and students back in classrooms.
That’s why they have a special incentive for employees who get the vaccine — cold hard cash.
In a program launched Monday, Johnson County Community College is giving employees who get vaccinated $250.
“It’s pretty exciting. It was like a surprise,” said Lilly Chao, who works in the JCCC computer lab. She’s taking the local community college up on its offer.
“There’s no expectation,” said Chris Gray, a spokesperson for Johnson County Community College. “Our main thing is we want people to be safe.”
The college is allowing employees to donate the money to its meal share program, which was started three years ago by employees who recognized the need.
“You would be amazed the amount in the volume of food insecurity on any campus, let alone within the community,” Gray said.
Employees, many of whom have been working from home, can also keep the money.
“There’s a lot of hardships that come with a work from home environment, and while $250 doesn’t go a long ways, $250 can help a lot of people in a lot of different ways,” Gray said.
Gray estimates 1,500 of the 2,000 employees will take the college up on the its offer. That’s a $375,000 investment, but the program isn’t being paid for with tax dollars. Because fewer people went to the doctor during the pandemic, the college received a health insurance refund in 2020.
“So we had one of two options. We could have either put that funds to our general funds and just kept it away and used it for however we needed. We felt it was important to give those funds back to employees in a creative and unique way,” Gray said.
Chao signed up for her COVID-19 vaccine after the program launched Monday and gets her first shot next week.
“I haven’t decided should I make a donation now or should I keep it,” she said. “But I think I will probably make a donation now because I’ve already got money from the government, so why not?”