Thursday, January 27, 2011

Funding Supports Job Training at Community Colleges

Community colleges are increasingly being called upon as a partner in connecting skilled workers to employment. Enrolling more than 11.8 million students, community colleges are the largest part of the nation’s higher education system.  Community colleges work with business, labor, and government in their communities to create tailored education and training programs to meet employers’ needs and give students the skills required to obtain good jobs while earning family-sustaining wages.They feature affordable tuition, open admission policies, flexible course schedules, and convenient locations.However, community colleges are traditionally underfunded.

Fortunately, the Department of Labor has announced the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants program (TAACCT) that will support the development and improvement of post secondary education programs. Grants will allow institutions to expand training programs or improve existing ones while meeting the needs of local or regional businesses. Applicants must be community colleges or other two-year degree granting institutions of higher education as defined in the Higher Education Act of 1965.  By statute, every state as well as the District of Columbia will receive at least 0.5 percent of the total amount of available funds. Awards will range from $2.5 million to $5 million for individual applicants and $2.5 million to $20 million for consortium applicants. 

"Everyone, especially the trade-impacted workers who are the focus of this program, deserves access to the level of education necessary to obtain employment that can support a family," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "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."

Applications are due April 21, 2011.

For more information on the importance of strengthening access to post secondary education, please see the following:

Supporting the Economic Well-Being of Families: Opportunities for Communities in the Federal Budget, The Center for the Study of Social Policy

Community Colleges, American Association of Community Colleges

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