Obama Administration Awards Nearly $500 Million in First Round of Grants to Community Colleges for Job Training and Workforce Development

Congrats to West Hills College in Lemoore!

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter today announced nearly $500 million in grants to community colleges around the country for targeted training and workforce development to help economically dislocated workers who are changing careers. The grants support partnerships between community colleges and employers to develop programs that provide pathways to good jobs, including building instructional programs that meet specific industry needs.

This installment is the first in a $2 billion, four-year investment designed in combination with President Obama’s American Jobs Act to provide additional support for hiring and re-employment services to increase opportunities for the unemployed.

“Making it possible for unemployed Americans to return to work is a top priority of President Obama’s. This initiative is about providing access to training that leads to real jobs,” said Secretary Solis. “These federal grants will enable community colleges, employers and other partners to prepare job candidates, through innovative programs, for new careers in high-wage, high-skills fields, including advanced manufacturing, transportation, health care and STEM occupations.”

Today’s announcement represents an initial round of community college and career training funds, which are being awarded to 32 grantees. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

“The president knows that building a well-educated workforce is critical to reviving and strengthening the American economy,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “These grants will help community colleges and businesses work together to give students the skills they need to compete for good jobs in growing industries.”

Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor, joined the Labor and Education departments in celebrating the goals of the program, and the hard work of the grant applicants and recipients. Read more.

Via  Joshua Lamont, Labor Department Office of Public Affairs.

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As Hispanics Surge Into College, HSIs Are On the Rise

A new statistical portrait of Hispanic-Serving Institutions shows them showing up in unexpected places but still concentrated geographically along the country’s southern border and Puerto Rico.  >> See Chart

Excelencia in Education, a Washington, D.C-based education advocacy group, reports that HSIs are appearing in states that are thousands of miles from Mexico, such as Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

But HSIs represent only about 10 percent of all institutions of higher education and most are located in states long associated with large Latino populations.

“Over half of all Latino undergraduate students in higher education (54 percent) are enrolled in less than 10 percent of institutions in the United States,” the report says. “This concentration of Latino enrollment in higher education was first recognized by educators and policy makers in the 1980s and contributed to the invention of a new construct, which came to be known as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).”

HSIs now number 293, located in 17 states and Puerto Rico, the Excelencia analysis found.

HSIs were first formally recognized by the federal government in 1994, and defined as colleges with Hispanic enrollments of 25 percent of more. Then, 135 colleges met the criteria.

Today, colleges such as Capital Community College in Hartford, Conn., and Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kan., meet the definition of HSI’s, according to Excelencia. Community colleges account for 47 percent, or 137 colleges, of the nation’s HSIs.

Coupled with a new surge of young Hispanics into college, as documented by the Pew Hispanic Center, the growing roster of HSIs underscores a demographic shift now under way in American higher education. While the number of young non-Hispanic whites attending college is on a downward trend, the number of Hispanics going to college is headed in the opposite direction. Read more.

Via Paul Bradley, Community College Week.

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