WASHINGTON–Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris today said the availability of $474.5 million to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to educate and train workers with the skills employers need. This third round of funding since 2009 under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants program brings total investments to nearly $1.5 billion.
“Building a well-educated workforce is critical to achieving President Obama’s priority of growing the economy from the middle class out,” said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. “Funding additional grantees will allow thousands more workers around the country to acquire world-class skills in top occupations.”
“Equipping our nation’s students with the skills they need is one of the best investments we can make to keep our economy growing,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This third round of funding will build on the work of earlier grantees by strengthening partnerships between institutions and employers so students develop the skills and attain the credentials they need for jobs in high-need fields now and in the future.”
Today’s announcement was made at a Contra Costa College training site in Richmond, Calif. Contra Costa College is part of the “Design-It Build-It Ship-It” consortium of 10 community colleges in the East Bay area of San Francisco that was awarded $15 million in the second round of TAACCCT. The funds are being used to support regional partnerships, build career pathways and enhance industry engagement in the advanced manufacturing, logistics and engineering industries. Contra Costa College received $600,000 as part of the consortia grant to develop new degree programs and accelerated certificates in partnership with the Richmond Workforce Investment Board and the San Pablo Economic Development Corp.
The Department of Labor administers the program in close collaboration with the Department of Education. This initiative is one component of President Obama’s plan to help every American have at least one year of postsecondary education and for America to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
Institutions or consortiums that are interested in applying for the newly available funding should visit http://www.grants.gov.
This latest round of funding will invest in innovative and evidence-based training models that include strong partnerships with local employers and employer organizations, including sector-based strategies. Strong partnerships and work-based training will help ensure that curricula and training are aligned with the practical skills and competencies industries seek from workers.
Funds also will encourage community colleges to better track data on the employment and earnings of students after they graduate as a tool to improve their programming and to create employment results scorecards that will help prospective students choose between training programs.
Finally, models funded this year will use advanced online and technology-based job training tools. Course materials developed by grantees will be available publicly through the Open Educational Resources initiative so that users may modify, update and build on their own instructional content. Additionally, all grantees will be required to evaluate their programs to build knowledge on what strategies are most effective in helping students gain skills and succeed in the workplace.