North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper visited Rowan-Cabarrus Community College recently to announce grants totaling $1.5 million to six partnerships across the state. The grants come from the NCWorks Local Innovation Fund, established by Cooper last year as part of his NC Job Ready initiative to better prepare the state’s workforce.
“Building a job ready North Carolina requires creativity and collaboration among employers, educators and communities across our state,” Cooper said. “These grants will enable innovative partnerships to help workers improve their job skills through opportunities like customized training, apprenticeships and work-based learning so they can be ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Several of the partnerships involve community colleges. Rowan-Cabarrus received $400,000 to provide assistance and job training to individuals with a criminal record who want to return to the workforce, particularly in the construction and trucking industries.
“We see a large number of individuals who face barriers to employment because of their criminal background but are willing and eager to find good jobs. At the same time, employers in some industries locally are in dire need of trained workers but may have processes in place that limit them from hiring former offenders,” said President Carol Spalding. “The innovative RE-Build Your Future program will link skilled, eligible workers with engaged employers, helping to close the skills gap and decreasing the likelihood that former offenders will be re-incarcerated.”
Another grant recipient, Brunswick Community College, will partner with Cape Fear Workforce Development Board on a $400,000 grant project to develop and implement a program to train construction and repair workers to fix damage from Hurricane Florence. Wilkes Community College is the lead on a $98,013 grant project to support the development of an action plan for workforce transportation in the rural area.
Wallace State Community College’s Future Foundation was among the recipients of the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham’s 2019 Community Impact Grants aimed at supporting programs and initiatives that strengthen families by integrating services for women and their children. The college will use $25,000 to help women complete a certificate in welding, machine tool technology, engineering technology or electronics technology, including support for tuition, child care, transportation and some living expenses.
Northwest Florida State College will expand career education thanks to a $1.5 million commitment from the Walton County Board of County Commissioners. The county board committed $1.5 million to a $5.25 million Walton Works project that will establish a Center of Excellence for workforce training at the college’s Chautauqua Center.
The project will expand programs in public safety, cybersecurity, drone technology and building trades. The Walton Works project will provide industrial lab space, an indoor drone facility and a fire tower to meet area training needs.
Triton College will use a $100,000 National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) grant to create new courses that better reflect the diversity of Triton’s students and community. The grant will help develop five new courses within Triton’s social science and English departments that will speak to changing global realities. The courses will afford students more options to earn the human diversity credit outlined in their degree requirements.
A history and humanities professor is developing a non-Western humanities course, as well as a world mythology class that will include traditional areas as well as Native American mythology, Hindu traditions and Australian Aboriginal stories. A new Latin American studies course will look at the history and challenges of immigration through a theoretical lens. Other subjects will include a course on global feminism and a Latino literature course.
Angelina College’s Risk Management Institute got a boost with a $100,000 grant from the Texas Mutual Insurance Company. That means the college can continue offering free and low-cost workplace safety courses that benefit students, workers and employers.
Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT) also received $100,000 from Texas Mutual for its Safety Awareness Institute. This is the third year that Texas Mutual has awarded this grant to the college to support the risk management program. LIT’s program provides a variety of courses related to workforce safety in Beaumont at no cost to employees of area businesses and industries.
El Paso Community College (EPCC) received a $167,000 grant from Marathon Petroleum and became a key training partner for Marathon. The funds will help EPCC better support and advance welding and machining students so they have the qualifications expected by Marathon for its workforce.