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- Skills Mismatch
On September 29, Vice President Biden, along with Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Perez and Department of Education (DoEd) Secretary Duncan, announced $450 million in grants to community colleges and community college consortia as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.
The grants, which are awarded to community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education—including consortia of two or more institutions—support education and training programs of less than two years that improve the skills of workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. Awards were made to 71 grantees across 270 community colleges, working in partnership with more than 400 employers.
DOL was particularly concerned with making this round of the TAACCCT grants “job-driven” and consistent with the principles identified in the Administration’s job-driven training action plan. To that end, DOL announced in the solicitation for grant applications that for the first time, eligible entities whose proposals addressed the following broad goals would receive larger grants: (1) scaling in-demand job training across the country through national industry partnerships; (2) advancing education and training to ensure seamless progression along a career pathway; and (3) improving statewide employment and education data integration and use.
Eligible entities were also strongly encouraged to demonstrate their ability to establish or leverage existing relationships with employers. Eligible entities are required to work with at least two employers, as well as a regional industry representative for each sector served by the program. At a minimum, applicants were required to demonstrate that the employers and industry representatives will serve on the project’s leadership team, help implement program strategies and goals, identify and map the necessary skills and competencies for the programs, assist with curriculum development and program design, and where appropriate, assist with the design of an assessment or credential that will address industry skill needs.
Alongside today’s TAACCCT announcement, the Administration announced three other job-driven initiatives:
The TAACCCT program was initially established as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) reauthorization under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As part of the 2010 budget reconciliation bill, Congress appropriated $2 billion for the four years (fiscal year 2011-2014) the program was authorized. Today’s announcement marks the final round of TAACCCT awards. The Administration has proposed replacing the TAACCCT grants with a new, four-year, $6 billion Community College Job-Driven Training Fund grant program—that would include $2 billion to expand registered apprenticeships—but enactment requires congressional action.