Today, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Tim Walz (D-Minn.), and Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) announced that $20 million from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will go to help community and technical colleges in Minnesota develop and expand innovative training programs.
The grants, part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT), will be used to promote skills development and employment opportunities in areas such as advanced manufacturing, transportation, and health care. The funding will also help bolster partnerships between training providers and local employers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
"From paper mills to poultry lines, American industry is changing. More and more businesses are using advanced technology and need workers who have specialized skills to use it," said Sen. Klobuchar. "This investment will help Minnesota schools continue to be a leader in preparing students for the "jobs of tomorrow' that our businesses are creating today."
"70 percent of the jobs in Minnesota by the year 2018 will require some kind of post-secondary education," said Sen. Franken. "There are high-quality jobs in Minnesota that are going unfilled because our workforce doesn't have the skills to fill them. Because of this important grant, several of our community and technical colleges will be able to develop and expand their training programs and help Minnesotans gain the skills necessary to fill open, high-demand jobs. "
"Our community and technical colleges do a tremendous job keeping pace with workforce needs in their regions, and provide affordable and accessible educational opportunities in a variety of career fields," said Rep. Peterson.
"As a graduate of Minnesota's community college system and parent of two Century College graduates, we know the power of these institutions to fill the educational needs of our communities. Community colleges play an important role in preparing Minnesotans for high-tech, quality jobs," said Congresswoman McCollum. "I congratulate Century College and the other institutions on this achievement. This funding will help support the top-notch education curriculum for which Century College is known."
"Every time I ask local job creators and American manufacturers for the one thing they need in order to grow their business, they all tell me the same thing: a highly skilled workforce," said Rep. Walz. "These grants will go a long ways towards creating that workforce and allowing hardworking southern Minnesotans to seize opportunity and find good-paying jobs."
"In the 8th District, I'm particularly pleased to see Pine Technical College in Pine City and Central Lakes College in Brainerd receiving a combined total of just under $10 million to boost their already highly successful education and career training programs," said Rep. Nolan. "What a boost for those institutions, their students and faculty, and the local communities that have been so supportive."
The following community and technical colleges in Minnesota are receiving funding through DOL's TAACCCT grants:
· Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical in Winona will receive over $1.76 million as part of a 9-college, multi-state grant led by Lewis and Clark Community College in Illinois;
· Century College in White Bear Lake will receive over $4.6 million as the lead institution in a 5-college, multi-state grant;
· Pine Technical College in Pine City will receive over $6.89 million as the lead institution in a 4-college, multi-state grant;
· Central Lakes College in Brainerd will receive over $3.7 million; and
· Ridgewater College in Willmar will receive over $3 million as part of this project.
TAACCCT provides community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less, are suited for workers who are eligible for training under the TAA for Workers program, and prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations. Through these multi-year grants, the DOL is helping to ensure that our nation's institutions of higher education are helping adults succeed in acquiring the skills, degrees, and credentials needed for high-wage, high-skill employment while also meeting the needs of employers for skilled workers. DOL is implementing the TAACCCT program in partnership with the Department of Education.
Sen. Franken has long been a champion of increasing investments in workforce investment. He introduced the Community College to Career Fund Act, which would create a competitive grant program that will fund partnerships between businesses and two-year colleges to address the skills gap. Those partnerships would focus on valuable job training-related efforts, such as registered apprenticeships, on-the-job training opportunities, and paid internships for low-income students that allow them simultaneously to earn credit for work-based learning in a high-skill field. The bill would encourage businesses to locate and invest in the U.S. because the training available will help provide a skilled workforce. And by training local workers in the skills businesses need it would also help communities, especially rural communities, retain skilled workers.