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    Since 2007, the Ohio Workforce Coalition has been bringing together leaders from education and training institutions, economic and workforce development organizations, business and industry, labor, and human service providers. The Coalition promotes public policies that build the skills of adult workers, meet employer skill needs, and strengthen the workforce system to ensure opportunity and prosperity for Ohio families.

Dollars for community colleges on the horizon…

From the Insight Center for Community Economic Development / NNSP
If you’re a community college or partner with one, heads-up: the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to release a solicitation any day now for up to $500 million to support capacity-building at two-year degree-granting institutions.Here’s the bottom line:

  • If you’re a community college, now’s the time to line up your industry and community partners.
  • If you’re a community group or employer association, now’s the time to talk with your community college.

At the recent NCLR Workforce Development Conference in Chicago, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Administration Jane Oates talked about this funding. Her main points:

  • Community colleges or consortia of community colleges (actually, “two-year degree-granting institutions) must be the applicants and recipients of funds.
  • Community-based organizations and the public workforce system are strongly encouraged as partners and employers MUST be partners.
  • Grants are for capacity-building. Allowable uses of funding do not include instruction but do include purchasing equipment, developing curricula, and building partnerships.

Other facts from DOL about the grants:

  • Up to $500 million will be available, with awards ranging from $2.5 million to $5 million for individual colleges or $2.5 million to $20 million for consortia of colleges.
  • Every state is expected to receive at least one award.
  • Awards will be made through a competitive bidding process.

For more information, here’s DOL’s fact sheet, including frequently asked questions about the solicitation.

I’d like to see grants go not just to one-time investments in equipment and curriculum, but also to structural changes that build the capacity of community colleges to partner with others, such as partnerships with community-based organizations to provide outreach assistance and wrap-around services and development of internal capacity to create and offer flexible, industry-responsive training at times and locations convenient to workers. What would that take? Would $2.5 to $5 million help? 

This grant program is very consistent with the core principles of sector initiatives. That’s why we feel that sector initiatives, including our members, are well-positioned to receive these funds. Still, it’s not too early to tune up your partnership – or to get started in pulling one together. 

Let us know if we can help with either planning or implementation. Good luck!

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