DANVILLE — Danville Area Community College will share in the $15.79 million in federal funding heading to Illinois community colleges to develop and expand innovative job training programs through local employer partnerships.
"This is very good news," President Alice Jacobs said after the announcement was made on Wednesday. "It give us resources to expand our advanced manufacturing opportunities and prepare employees for high-wage, high-skilled, advanced manufacturing occupations."
In a release, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said the federal government awarded $500 million to community colleges and universities across the United States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Initiative. It's the second installment that will disburse a total of $2 billion over a four-year period.
The program — administered by the U.S. Department of Labor in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education — aims to promote skills development and employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing, transportation, health care, science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers.
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.
Jacobs said DACC is one of 21 community colleges that formed the Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, which was awarded more than $12.9 million for the Earn and Learn Advanced Manufacturing Career Lattice Program leading to certificates and degrees in advanced manufacturing.
"There are so many strategies that are contained in the grant," Jacobs said, adding that DACC will work with other members to develop them. "One of the strategies is to develop stackable certificates and degrees," she said, adding that will allow people to earn a certificate in a program, then build on their training and education and eventually earn an associate degree.