U.S. Labor and Education Departments Encourage Applications for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program

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U.S. Labor and Education Departments Encourage Applications for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program

Secretaries Duncan and Solis to announce solicitations, discuss grant program in a conference call TODAY at 2 p.m.

January 20, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a solicitation for grant applications under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program. The Labor Department will award approximately $500 million this year through the program and a total of $2 billion over the next four years. Grants will support the development and improvement of postsecondary programs of two years or less that use evidence-based or innovative strategies to prepare students for successful careers in growing and emerging industries. The program will be administered by the Labor Department in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

By helping to increase the number of workers who attain degrees, certificates and other industry-recognized credentials, the program underscores President Obama's commitment to help every American have at least one year of postsecondary education. The program also furthers the president's efforts to ensure that by 2020 the United States once again has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

"Everyone, especially the trade-impacted workers who are the focus of this program, deserves access to the level of education necessary to obtain employment that can support a family," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "These grants will help colleges create programs that make it possible for workers to come back to school and acquire skills and industry-recognized credentials needed to compete for good jobs in growing industries."

The grant program is authorized through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009's amendments to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act. The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, signed by the president on March 30, 2010, provides the funding beginning in fiscal year 2011.

Applicants must be community colleges or other two-year degree granting institutions of higher education as defined in the Higher Education Act of 1965. The grants will enable eligible institutions to expand their capacity to create new education or training programs—or improve existing ones—to meet the needs of local or regional businesses. By statute, every state, as well as the District of Columbia and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, will receive at least $2.5 million each year in grant awards.

The grant program will expand opportunities for workers by: accelerating progress and reducing time to completion; improving retention and achievement rates; building instructional programs that meet industry needs; and strengthening online and technology-enabled learning.

The grants will provide postsecondary institutions with an opportunity to develop and make innovative use of a variety of evidence-based learning materials, including cutting-edge shared courses and open educational resources. These resources would be available online for free, greatly expanding learning opportunities for students and workers. In addition, these learning tools will help schools and students tailor education so each worker can have a better opportunity for success in the classroom and job market.

"These grants will help educators and industry work together to ensure that more students are graduating with the skills that employers need," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "This program is not about tinkering—it's about transformation. This is not about getting more students to enroll—it's about getting more students to graduation day and into good jobs."

The program is designed to have a lasting impact on higher education, emphasizing collection of student outcome data and evaluation to build knowledge about which strategies best help students gain skills and credentials that are valuable in the workforce. The administration sees community colleges as an ideal place to apply this new approach because they have been leaders in seeking out strategies that get results.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to view the online tutorial "Grant Applications 101: A Plain English Guide to ETA Competitive Grants" available through Workforce3One at http://www.workforce3one.org/page/grants_toolkit. The solicitation will be available today on http://www.grants.gov. Or visit http://www.doleta.gov/grants and click on "Find Grants."

Note To Editors: Secretaries Duncan and Solis will hold a conference call about the TAACCCT grant program TODAY at 2 p.m. EST. Members of the press should call 888-843-9979 and give passcode 25676 when requested.