Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin today announced that two West Virginia community colleges -- New River Community and Technical College and Bridgemont Community and Technical College -- will receive federal funding to develop and expand training programs for students and for American workers who lose their jobs because of outsourcing to foreign countries.
"This money will provide our community colleges with the support needed to increase their training programs in fields that will prepare students and workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow -- particularly in health care and manufacturing which are so important to West Virginia," said Rockefeller. "Too many West Virginians have lost out because their jobs were outsourced to foreign countries, and those workers deserve a shot at getting new training for new fields. This grant is part of an effort to help workers and students get good paying the jobs, support their families, and boost West Virginia's economy. By increasing the capabilities of our workforce we can align the skills of West Virginia workers and needs of employers."
"Few things are as important to America's future as education, and our community colleges do excellent work training our students for the good jobs that exist now and will exist into the future," Manchin said. "Workers who have lost their jobs because of unfair trade deals deserve a second chance, so they can learn new skills to provide for their families. Since I have been a U.S. Senator, I have supported these training programs, even as I have fought against trade deals that send good American manufacturing jobs to other countries. Finally, I am determined to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to start building things in America again."
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 community colleges, 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.
The following awards were given in West Virginia:
New River Community and Technical College - $3,000,000
New River Community and Technical College and its industry and community partners seek to fill an urgent gap in southeastern West Virginia by substantially enlarging its nursing and allied health care program to help American workers who lost their jobs to foreign countries, as well as returning veterans and other unemployed and underemployed workers. New River currently offers allied health care programs, and is seeking to expand and improve on these offerings.
Bridgemont Community and Technical College -- at least $760,294
Bridgemont Community and Technical College is part of a consortium of 13 colleges in multiple states that are working to improve and transform the manufacturing education curricula at these schools by working with industry partners and other colleges in the group. The program will specifically reach out to American workers who lost their jobs because of outsourcing to foreign countries, and workers who are unemployed or underemployed.
The schools 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.