Washtenaw Community College receives $2.9M federal grant for IT professional job training program
Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, both Democrats from Michigan, joined in announcing the grant for WCC, along with another $15 million grant for Henry Ford Community College.
Henry Ford and WCC will be able to use the money to design programs to re-train workers in new or updated fields, the lawmakers said. Henry Ford is taking the lead in a multi-state manufacturing consortium with community colleges in nine states.
Working with Ann Arbor SPARK and other workforce development partners, WCC plans to address what it sees as a strong demand for skilled IT professionals. Academic programs will be designed in two career areas specifically identified as high demand by regional employers: software development for Java and network and systems administration for Microsoft and Linux/Unix platforms.
According to WCC, the programs will be designed to meet the needs of the adult, non-traditional learner and will combine online and classroom instruction.
“We look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship with SPARK in the development of workforce talent in Washtenaw County,” said Michelle Mueller, WCC's associate vice president for economic development and community and corporate alliances.
"Developing the skills of our regional workforce is an economic imperative," said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. "Every company that works with Ann Arbor SPARK cites the ability to hire skilled talent as a key consideration when choosing a place to grow. The grant awarded to WCC ensures that the skills employers need are fostered in this region, ultimately helping individuals here and attracting growing businesses."
The grant awards were made available through the Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training Program.
The program provides community colleges funding to expand and improve education and career training programs for workers eligible for assistance because their jobs were sent overseas or were lost as a result of foreign trade.
"For Michigan to be competitive in the global economy, it's critical our workers have the right skills and training opportunities to help our businesses create the jobs of the future here in Michigan," Stabenow said. "Henry Ford and Washtenaw Community College are rising to that challenge by preparing workers, whose jobs have been outsourced through no fault of their own, with the skills to match the needs of emerging high-tech industries."
For more information on the trade adjustment assistance program and to see which workers qualify, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's website.