ccDaily > $2B training program focuses on trade-impacted workers, partnerships

$2B training program focuses on trade-impacted workers, partnerships

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​The federal government on Thursday announced that community colleges and their partners can apply for grants through a $2 billion training program geared toward workers dislocated because their jobs have moved abroad.
 
The departments had postponed announcing the new grants through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program for several months in hopes that Congress would adjust legislative language to expand the training to other workers. That didn’t happen, so the program is focusing on helping trade-impacted workers, according to federal officials.
 
However, although the program is designed to assist specific workers, federal officials noted that once the programs are developed or expanded, other students could enroll in them.
 
The U.S. Department of Labor, which is administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education, will award about $500 million annually over four years. Individual community colleges can apply for grants ranging from $2.5 million to $5 million. Consortia that include community colleges can apply for grants up to $20 million.
 
By statute every state and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will receive at least $2.5 million each year in grant awards.
 
DOL officials emphasized that proposed submissions must include community colleges or institutions that offer associate degrees or credentials.
 
“The core program has to center around community colleges,” Jane Oates, Labor’s assistant secretary of employment and training, said during a conference call with reporters. “They are the fiscal agent.”
 
The grants are intended to help two-year colleges and their partners to expand capacity and develop programs that target industries with a need for skilled workers, such as health care and renewable energy, noted Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. They won’t cover students’ tuition.
 
“These grants will help colleges create programs that make it possible for workers to come back to school and acquire skills and industry-recognized credentials needed to compete for good jobs in growing industries,” she said.
 
Department officials encouraged partnerships to leverage the grants, and they emphasized that programs should be innovative, especially in the areas of using technology, such as online learning. The departments are also interested in programs that accelerate progress and reduce time to completion, improve retention and achievement rates, and build instructional programs that meet industry needs.
 
“We’re looking for people to be innovative,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Think outside the box as much as possible.”
 
DOL is working with the American Association of Community Colleges to develop ways to disseminate promising practices created through the program, Oates said.
 
The deadline for applications is April 21. For more information about the grants, click here.
 
Prospective applicants should view the online tutorial “Grant Applications 101:  A Plain English Guide to ETA Competitive Grants.”
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