North Central Texas College will receive more than $4.66-million as part of a four college, multi-state consortium grant in part of an effort to expand demand-driven skills training and strengthen employer partnerships.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez announced $474.5-million in grants to community and technical colleges on September 18, 2013. The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program
NCTC partnered with three community colleges in Minnesota to develop this proposal. As a partner in this consortium, NCTC will receive $4.66 million over a four-year period to expand the college's Information Technology programs to include CyberSecurity, CISCO, VoIP Certificate, Databases, Web Design and Microsoft certifications. Major industry partners include CISCO and Microsoft.
"We are excited to receive notification that the Rural Information Technology Alliance (RITA) Consortium has been funded," NCTC President Dr. Eddie Hadlock said. "NCTC has been fortunate to receive other workforce training Department of Labor grants which have allowed us to gain a reputation of providing high-quality training for this region."
The RITA grant totals $18.3 million and includes NCTC, along with Minnesota schools Pine Technical College, Central Lakes College and Ridgewater College. Pine Technical College was named the consortium leader and will receive more than $6.8 million.
Texas will receive more than $5.2 million in grant funding to support skills training capacity building at community colleges and other public institutions across the state. NCTC and San Jacinto Community College were the award winners in this round of funding.
Pine Technical College President Dr. Robert Musgrove explained that this particular consortium is focused on meeting the rural employment needs in information technology, which will allow employees to stay in their localities. There is a shortage of IT resources in rural areas, and with this grant, the four schools, along with allied workforce centers, industry partners, and IT employers will work to implement a project that addresses critical rural IT needs in the workforce.
"Together, we can achieve more collectively," said Musgrove, who also noted that the creating and writing of the RITA grant was "very much a collaborative effort."
To fulfill this project, the schools will upgrade college programs, construct career ladders, work to remove barriers to the TAA-eligible workers and other adult workforce center clients, and find high-wage employment. Along with this project, the program will develop or expand a range of IT programs that will be available at all colleges, on-site, online, or by hybridized solutions. Each program is designed for completion within two years, and has various entry and exit points.
"Community colleges play a vital role in training Americans to meet the needs of employers today," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "As our economy continues to rebuild, businesses are looking for employees with the skills their company needs to stay competitive, and America's students and adult workers want to be equipped to fill those roles. These grants help to meet those demands, providing critical investments in education and supporting key partnerships."
These grants are the third installment of a nearly $2 billion community college initiative, and the four-year grant will begin Oct. 1, 2013.