Job-Training Grants Pair Colleges with Employers for In-Demand Careers
DOL and DOE award $450 million in grants to partner community colleges and employers for career training
For many college students and young adults "the plan" – the right college, the degree and the perfect high-paying job – doesn't always work out and unemployment and growing student loan debt are becoming all too familiar. But, what if colleges applied a "teach to the test" method and prepared students for in-demand careers with guaranteed job placement so that the money you've paid for college + the degree = the high-paying career?
Nearly 270 community colleges nationwide are getting a head start on that ideal trajectory after receiving more than $450 million in grants through the Department of Labor and Department of Education's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training competitive grant program. The fund aims to improve job-training programs that will prepare college students for in-demand careers in information technology, health care, energy and advanced manufacturing, according to the Department of Labor.
Many of these in-demand industries have hundreds of thousands of jobs available that are unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers and certifications.
This teach to the test method works by partnering participating community colleges with 400 employers across the country with the goal of better preparing the population with skills and internships that will lead to better-paying in-demand jobs. Some employers even project more than 80 percent of students receiving job offers after participating in these training programs.
"A key strategy in building partnerships between community colleges, employers, labor groups and other local leaders who work together to figure out what skills local employers are looking for, to begin to design a new curriculum to help students meet those skills," Vice President Joe Biden announced in a press conference.
Information technology and cybersecurity jobs are anticipated to grow two times the national average and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1.4 million additional IT jobs created by 2020 and only 400,000 computer science graduates.
Maryland's demand for IT jobs is 49 percent more than the national average, with 130,000 IT jobs available. The Maryland Cyber-Technology Job Pathways Consortium has received grants totaling $15 million to embark on a two-year degree program with partnerships with IBM, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and a number of hospitals to graduate nearly 2,000 IT and cybersecurity students over the next three years. And the bonus, the employer partners have already committed to interviewing qualified graduates.
The Massachusetts Credentials and Careers in Aviation program has worked with JetBlue, Delta, Cape Air and Island Air to develop a framework that will prepare unemployed and underemployed individuals in only 12 months instead of 24. This includes hands-on learning and a guaranteed internship with an employer partner. Job placement for those with at least one certificate is projected to start at 85 percent.
The Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Center successfully places 88 percent of its graduates into high-wage industry jobs. I like those odds.
Want to see if your state is participating? Based on their total consortium award amount, here are five top states and their schools with in-demand job-driven training programs.
Massasoit Community College Consortium Leader
Total Award Amount: $20,000,000
Consortium members: Berkshire Community College, Bristol Community College, Bunker Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Middlesex Community College, Mount Wachusett Community College, North Shore Community College, Northern Essex Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, Roxbury Community College, Springfield Technical Community College
Industry focus: STEM industries including: Biotechnology, Information Technology, Private/Cyber Security, Advanced Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Health Care, Engineering, Green Energy, Veterinary Science, Architecture and Green Building, Telecommunications
Hawkeye Community College Consortium Leader
Total Award Amount: $15,000,000
Consortium members: Des Moines Area Community College, Eastern Iowa Community College, Iowa Central Community College, Indian Hills Community College, Iowa Lakes Community College, Iowa Valley Community College District, Iowa Western Community College, Kirkwood Community College, North Iowa Area Community College, Northeast Iowa Community College, Northwest Iowa Community College, Southeastern Community College, Southwestern Community College, Western Iowa Tech Community College
Chaffey Community College Consortium Leader
Total Award Amount: $14,980,284
Consortium members: College of the Desert, Norco College, San Bernardino Valley Community College, Barstow Community College, Riverside Community College, Mt. San Jacinto Community College, Victor Valley College, MiraCosta College, CSU San Bernardino, UC Riverside, Crafton Hills College
Industry focus: Advanced Manufacturing
Manchester Community College Consortium Leader
Total Award Amount: $14,957,899
Consortium members: Middlesex Community College, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Asnuntuck Community College, Three Rivers Community College, Housatonic Community College, Quinebaug Valley Community College, Charter Oak State College, Capital Community College, Gateway Community College, Northwestern Connecticut Community College, Norwalk Community College, Tunxis Community College
Industry focus: Manufacturing Manchester Community College is leading a statewide consortium of 13 community colleges to expand its innovative manufacturing training program to more colleges in the state.
Hazard Community and Technical College Consortium Leader
Total Award Amount: $10,000,000
Consortium members: Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Jefferson Community and Technical College, Somerset Community College, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Industry focus: Information Technology
See the Department of Labor's full list of grant recipients and their partnering organizations.
Monster Wants to Know: Are you enrolled in one of the job-driven grant programs and have a success story? Or would you enroll in programs like these? Share with us in the comment section.