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News Release

US Labor Department awards more than $111M in America’s Promise grants to strengthen, expand regional job training partnerships

Grants will support tuition-free programs tailored to industry-specific skills

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of more than $111 million in America’s Promise grants to 23 regional workforce partnerships in 28 states to connect more than 21,000 Americans to education and in-demand jobs.

Inspired by President Obama’s America’s College Promise plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students, America’s Promise grants are designed to accelerate the development and expansion of regional workforce partnerships committed to providing a pipeline of skilled workers in specific sectors. Each grant requires a partnership that includes industry leaders, senior level leadership from workforce and economic development organizations, secondary and post-secondary education institutions, elected officials, and other important community stakeholders. Grantees will focus on in-demand industries such as information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, financial services and educational services.

“These grants are part of the Obama administration’s unprecedented investment in education and training programs that have helped to create more pathways to the middle class for millions of Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “By encouraging regional collaboration and delivering on the promise of tuition-free training at community colleges, these grants will help strengthen local communities across America, and ensure that employees and employers alike are able to compete and thrive in today’s global economy.”  

Grantees will focus their activities on four key priorities:

  • Increasing opportunities for all Americans through tuition-free training for middle-to high-skilled occupations and industries.
  • Expanding employer involvement in the design and delivery of education and training programs.
  • Utilizing evidence-based sector strategies to increase college completion, employability, employment earnings and outcomes of job seekers.
  • Leveraging additional public, private and foundation resources to scale and sustain proven strategies.

Each four-year grant will support tuition-free education and training that prepares participants for jobs in industries that currently utilize the H-1B temporary visa program to meet industry workforce needs. Grantees will use individual assessments to determine the best strategies to successfully move participants into middle- to high-skilled jobs including accelerated training, longer-term intensive training and upskilling current employees to meet the demands of higher skilled jobs.

Beyond the America’s Promise funding, grantees have identified more than $57 million in additional funding by leveraging resources such as Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds; foundation support; public funds from education and training partners, and employer donations and in-kind contributions to support tuition-free training. All 23 grantees are partnering with community colleges to leverage previously received funds under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants. Among the partnerships receiving grants, 10 include rural services areas.

Grant recipients will use a variety of work-based learning to help participants obtain the necessary skills, competencies and credentials including apprenticeship, on-the-job training, paid work experience and paid internships. Programs will also use a mixture of classroom education, competency-based learning and technology-enabled training strategies.

The America’s Promise grant competition was initially announced by Vice President Joseph Biden and Dr. Jill Biden in April 2016. Today’s announcement comes during the second annual National Apprenticeship Week, where nearly 700 events are being held to highlight to unique role apprenticeships play in providing earn-while-you-learn opportunities for more than 500,000 people across the country while delivering an impressive return on investment for employers.

Since 2009, the Obama administration has invested more than $70 billion dollars in support of community colleges including over $66 billion in over 19 million Pell scholarships to help students and families pay for college and $1.6 billion in Title III and Title V to strengthen institutions’ capacity for providing students an affordable, high-quality education. Today, more students are graduating college than ever before; and student loan default, delinquencies and forbearances are on the decline.

The department’s TAACCCT program invested nearly $2 billion to strengthen education and training programs that lead to in-demand employment. The program facilitated partnerships between more than half of our nation’s community colleges and nearly 2,500 employers to expand and improve education and career training programs that help job seekers get the skills they need for in-demand jobs. In addition, 40 states received grants that supported state-wide systematic change by including all or most community colleges in the state. To date, nearly 300,000 participants have enrolled in TAACCCT-funded programs, earning 160,000 credentials.

Funded through fees paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the U.S. under the H-1B temporary visa program, America’s Promise grants are intended to raise the technical skill levels of American workers and, over time, help businesses reduce their reliance on temporary visa programs.

A list of the grantees follows.

Grantee Name City State Funding
The University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham Ala. $5,999,770
MiraCosta Community College District Oceanside Calif. $6,000,000
Delaware Technical Community College Dover Del. $3,500,000
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville Fla. $1,804,656
Brevard Workforce Development Board, Inc. Rockledge Fla. $2,380,337
Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center Peoria Ill. $4,000,000
Tecumseh Area Partnership, Inc. Lafayette Ind. $5,978,593
United Way of Central Iowa Des Moines Iowa $2,248,968
Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, Inc. Wichita Kan. $5,995,327
Montgomery College Rockville Md. $5,633,390
Grand Rapids Community College Grand Rapids Mich. $6,000,000
Southeast Michigan Community Alliance Taylor Mich. $6,000,000
City of Springfield Springfield Mo. $3,000,000
RFCUNY on behalf of CUNY OAA - CEWP New York N.Y. $5,967,162
Monroe Community College Rochester N.Y. $6,000,000
Worksystems, Inc. Portland Ore. $6,000,000
Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Cranston R.I. $6,000,000
Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce Memphis Tenn. $5,992,314
Alamo Community College District San Antonio Texas $2,000,000
New River Mount Rogers Workforce Investment Area Consortium Radford Va. $6,000,000
West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Moorefield W.Va. $3,616,108
Employ Milwaukee Milwaukee Wisc. $6,000,000
Northern Wyoming Community College District Sheridan Wyo. $4,998,585
Employment and Training Administration
November 17, 2016
Release Number