Monday was big day for community college workforce programs.
After months of anticipation, the Obama administration announced the winners of the final round of Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants. Some 270 community colleges split $450 million in grant awards for technology-based job training programs. The award marks the final round of the influential multiyear grant program, which has delivered $1.5 billion in federal money to higher education workforce training efforts.
What follows in an edited version of a story that first appeared on AACC’s Community College Daily.
Co-administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Education, TAACCCT partners higher education institutions with employers to improve workforce training and help job seekers acquire the skills needed for careers in high-demand fields, such as information technology, health care, energy and advanced manufacturing.
“This is not some gift; it’s an investment,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said during a press conference that included Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).
Duncan added that community colleges have become the “economic engines” of many communities, providing job training to develop a skilled workforce that local employers seek. The top-notch training has also served to attract new business and industry.
Perez praised community colleges, calling them the “secret sauce” of local, state and regional economies. Similar to President Eisenhower’s efforts to build the nation’s highway infrastructure in the 1950s, Perez said the TAACCCT program is building an infrastructure for education and training in the 21st century.
“We need to rethink how we’re moving folks toward the job opportunities that exist today,” said Biden, who added that he and the two secretaries will soon begin a national tour to promote the job training program.
Integrating business, industry
DOL emphasized the TAACCCT program’s strong focus on working with employers who need skilled employees. Those companies include Exxon-Mobil, IBM, Delta, JetBlue, CVS, and Habitat for Humanity, and labor and community-based organizations such as SEIU, Goodwill Industries, Urban League and the United Way.
Administrators said the programs will provide millions of low-wage, low-skill workers with access to internships, apprenticeships and job-relevant basic skills education and training — resources needed to move up the career ladder into better-paying jobs.
For examples of select program awards, including programs supporting advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity training, check out the full story on AACC’s Community College Daily.