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September 23, 2012 | Tom Ballard

East TN community colleges receive grants for new, expanded training programs

Six East Tenessee community colleges are participants in projects valued at $30 million that were among the $500 million in grants anounced last week by the U. S. Department of Labor.

The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative and are intended to develop and expand innovative training programs.

Chattanooga State is leading a project on its own, while Roane State is lead for a multi-institutional consortium involving 12 other Tennessee community colleges and four Technology Centers, and Pellissippi State is a partner in a third group.

Here’s the Department’s release followed by the section on Tennessee.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced $500 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs. The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

Speaking in Florida at St. Petersburg College, which is receiving $15 million in funds to lead a consortium of community colleges across the state in developing programs focused on advanced manufacturing, Secretary Solis said: “These federal grants are part of the Obama administration’s ongoing commitment to strengthening American businesses by strengthening the American workforce. This strategic investment will enhance ties among community colleges, universities, employers and other local partners while ensuring that students have access to the skills and resources they need to compete for high-wage, high-skill careers.”

The initiative complements President Obama’s broader goals to help ensure that every American has at least one year of postsecondary education and the U.S. has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Through this initiative, each state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will receive at least $2.5 million in dedicated funding for community college career training programs.

In total, 297 schools will receive grants as individual applicants or as members of a consortium. The grants include 27 awards to community college and university consortia totaling $359,237,048 and 27 awards to individual institutions totaling $78,262,952. Twenty-five states that were without a winning individual submission will be contacted to develop a qualifying $2.5 million project.

Educational institutions will use these funds to create affordable training programs that meet industry needs, invest in staff and educational resources, and provide access to free, digital learning materials. All education materials developed through the grants will be available for use by the public and other education providers through a Creative Commons license.

These grants emphasize evidence-based program design. Each grantee is required to collect rigorous student outcome data annually and conduct final evaluations at the end of the grant period to build knowledge about which strategies are most effective in placing graduates in jobs.


Roane State Community College
Consortium Leader
Total Consortium Award Amount: $12,570,415

Consortium members: Chattanooga State Community College, Cleveland State Community College, Columbia State Community College, Dyersburg State Community College, Jackson State Community College, Motlow State Community College, Nashville State Community College, Northeast State Community College, Pellissippi State Community College, Southwest Tennessee Community College, Volunteer State Community College, Walters State Community College, Tennessee Technology Center — McMinnville, Tennessee Technology Center — Murfreesboro, Tennessee Technology Center — Nashville, Tennessee Technology Center — Memphis

This program is designed to improve the opportunities to Trade Adjustment Assistance-eligible workers and others in health care-related training while at the same time meet the needs of the health care employers and industry. The project contains a strong student support prescription component designed to serve students and potential students to prepare for and make good decisions in selecting health care training as well as being successful once they start training to complete and obtain employment. The proposal also contains training prescriptions to address specific occupational training components that are currently not available or need enhanced/expanded to meet the needs of employers and industry in specific regions and across the state.

Chattanooga State Community College
Total Award Amount: $3,026,496

The program will provide retraining in two core, high-demand, high-wage fields: non-destructive evaluation and materials joining. The program’s career pathways will offer a continuum starting at entry-level certification that produces employability within four to six months, while also providing opportunities for stacked and latticed credentialing that could lead to advanced certifications, associate and/or baccalaureate degrees.

Pellissippi State Community College and Tennessee Technology Center at Murfreesboro
Consortium Members — Henry Ford Community College Consortium
Total Consortium Award Amount: $15,000,000

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