On April 19th, the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, announced the availability of $474.5 million to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to educate and train workers with the skills employers need. This is the third of four rounds of funding under the $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.
A key part of the Administration’s skills agenda is meeting the needs of growth industries through next-generation partnerships between community colleges and businesses that help employers find the workers they need and give workers training in high-growth fields. The TAACCCT program is also a vital part of the Administration’s strategy to increase the number of American workers with postsecondary skills and credentials.
This year’s funding will award community colleges and other eligible institutions that (1) have forged strong partnerships with employers that result in work-based learning opportunities for students; (2) are using cutting edge technology to create innovative learning models and to increase access to lower-cost training; and (3) are committed to tracking their own performance and sharing the value of their programs with potential students and the general public.
One of the major changes in this round is the introduction of pre-conditions. Grants will be awarded only to applicants that meet certain pre-conditions for employer engagement; demonstrated labor market need; and rigorous program evaluation. Consortium applicants applying in partnership with other institutions will have an additional precondition to provide information on the steps taken to develop an Employment Performance Scorecard, to help prospective students identify and choose programs.
Administered by the Department of Labor in close collaboration with the Department of Education, the TAACCCT program is one component of President Obama’s plan to help every American have at least one year of post-secondary education and for America to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
Mary Alice McCarthy is a Policy Analyst at OVAE