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Community colleges receive job-training grants

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Illinois community colleges have received $15.79 million in funding to expand job training through local employer partnerships.

William Rainey Harper College in Palatine received $12.92 million to lead a multicollege consortium – which includes McHenry County College – focused on training to meet the needs of the manufacturing industry,

A total of $500 million in grants were awarded 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.

“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,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis in a press release.

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, Solis said.

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 $359.23 million and 27 awards to individual institutions totaling $78.26 million. 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.

William Rainey Harper College is the consortium leader for the Earn and Learn Advanced Manufacturing Career Lattice Program leading to certificates and degrees in advanced manufacturing. 

In addition to MCC, consortium members include: College of Lake County, College of DuPage, Daley-City Colleges of Chicago, Danville Area Community College, Elgin Community College, Harper College, Illinois Eastern Community College, Illinois Valley Community College, John Wood Community College, Joliet Junior College, Kankakee Community College, Kishwaukee College, Lincoln Land Community College, Oakton Community College, Prairie State College, Richland Community College, South Suburban College, Southwestern Illinois College, Triton College, and Waubonsee Community College.

Rock Valley College in Rockford is part of the Henry Ford Community College Consortium in Dearborn, Mich., which received a grant of $15 million to bridge the disconnect between the needs of the workplace and the content of manufacturing curriculum.

 Waubonsee Community College which has campuses in Aurora, Plano and Sugar Grove, received a grant of $2.86 million for adult education and laboratory science programs.

For more information about about the grant program, visit

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