Capital Community College has won a $2.3 million federal grant to enhance programs related to information technology, public safety, construction,and emergency responders as part of the seven college, four-state Northeast Resiliency Consortium led by Passaic Community College (NJ).
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez on September 18th announced $474.5 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, a multiyear, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade.
The Resiliency Consortium involving Capital and Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport came together last spring to create “a highly skilled and resilient workforce in four Northeastern states (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts) that have been devastated by crises and natural catastrophes, including: Hurricane Sandy, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and the Boston Marathon bombings. The partners will prepare trade-impacted workers, veterans and other individuals for employment and upward mobility in three key industry-growth sectors (health care, information technology and environmental technologies) that play a critical role in times of crisis.”
The Consortium Award totals $23,516,787. In Connecticut Capital Community College will receive $2,314,406 and Housatonic Community College $2,196,144. The other Consortium members include Atlantic Cape Community College, NJ ($1,027,886), Bunker Hill Community College, MA ($1,946,057, Kingsborough Community College, NY ($3,855,652) and LaGuardia Community College, NY ($3,178,652)
All course materials developed using these public funds will be available through the Open Educational Resources initiative so that others can access and build on successful training models. The U.S. Department of Commerce is also encouraging employers to collaborate with local colleges eligible for funding through this program.
Federal officials said the Trade Assistance Act initiative complements President Obama’s broader goals of ensuring that every American has at least one year of postsecondary education, and that the U.S. has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. The program is designed to have a lasting impact on higher education, emphasizing the use of evidence-based program design, collection of student outcome data and evaluation to add to the growing body of knowledge about which strategies best develop skills that lead to good jobs.
“For America’s workforce to be competitive in the 21st century, our workers must possess the skills employers need for their businesses to succeed. That is why employers should partner with educational institutions and government to help develop curriculum and credentialing programs at the local level,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “This round of grants has an increased emphasis on creating the types of training programs that will prepare community college students for the jobs in which they are needed, which is good for employees, employers and the strength of our economy.”
Grantees will use these funds to transform the way they schedule, sequence and deliver education and training programs that can be completed in two years or less. A variety of activities will be made possible, including: hiring or training instructors to expand capacity to offer in-demand courses or certifications, leveraging online learning to accelerate skills attainment, developing new curricula and training models to add additional classes and certifications, purchasing new equipment to ensure students train on what employers actually use, designing new programs based on the input and needs of local employers, and expanding career pathways in which stackable credentials are linked to industry skills and lead participants to higher-skill jobs.
A formal announcement about the Northeast Resiliency Consortium grant and its impact on Capital Community College is expected on Monday, September 23rd.