The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will tweak its application for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAAACCT) grants to improve some areas in the program, such as communication among consortia members, according to Jane Oates, the department’s assistant secretary for employment and training.
The $2-billion, four-year TAAACCT program funds community colleges that develop job training partnerships with local employers. The department will begin accepting applications for the third round of the grants at the end of April or early May, Oates said during a virtual address at the American Association of Community Colleges’ Workforce Development Institute last week. Grant winners will be announced in September.
There might be two time frames, Oates noted, with applications for consortia given a little more time than those from a single college.
The department has adjusted requirements for the program with each round. After the first round, DOL realized there was a need for more evaluation, so in round two it required third-party evaluations, Oates said.
“This is crucial as a roadmap when you reinvent yourselves in 10 years,” Oates said.
In the second round of grants, the department learned that the idea of capacity building can vary greatly, so more flexibility will now be allowed.
“We don’t think every project should look exactly the same,” Oates said. Online learning, accelerated learning and more compressed schedules are all acceptable. “Not every community college needs to do the same thing,” she said.
Oates added community outreach and return on investment are important, as well as the need to build bridges between credit and non-credit-bearing programs. What’s most crucial, she said, is the need for “real, rigorous, meaningful partnerships with employers.”
Even though employers can’t guarantee jobs, Oates encouraged colleges to try to secure some type of workplace-related activity for students, such as internships and cooperative learning. (Read more.)