With the help of $2 billion in federal job training grants community colleges are helping students earn industry-recognized credentials that will show they’re ready for work, reports Community College Times.
Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) in Kansas is the leader of a consortium that will use its $14.9-million grant to develop industry credentials for the aviation industry. WATC and its partners — Tulsa Community College (Oklahoma), Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana), Guilford Technical Community College (North Carolina) and Edmonds Community College (Washington)—are all located near aviation manufacturing facilities, said Sheree Utash, vice president for academic affairs at WATC. The Wichita area, for example, has Spirit AeroSystems, Bombardier Learjet, Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft plants nearby.
Aviation industry professionals will help develop the curriculum, which will be used by all colleges in the consortium.
The consortium will develop six stackable aviation credentials: sheet metal assembly, composite repair, computer numerical control (machining), electrical assembly, quality assurance and health and safety. The colleges will also create content for online courses and lab projects and implement transfer and articulation agreements.
Other community colleges are using federal grants to fund training in high-tech manufacturing. Harper College in Illinois is leading a statewide network that will create a curriculum leading to stackable, portable certificates in advanced manufacturing. Students will specialize in mechatronics/automation, numerical controls, metal fabrication and supply chain management/logistics.
After 14 years as a homemaker, Catherine Clarke left her husband because of domestic violence. With four children to support, she enrolled at Harper College in Illinois, taking advantage of help for single parents and displaced homemakers, reports Community College Times. The college’s Rita and John Canning Women’s Program teaches test-taking and study skills, provides career counseling and helps women build their self-esteem and networks.
With the help of scholarships and grants, Clarke graduated from Harper with a 4.0 grade-point average and went on to Elmhurst College. She hope to work as a counselor.
“When you look at the risk factors for people not being able to graduate college, low-income single moms have just about all of them,” said Meegan Bassett, senior policy associate for Women Employed. However, single mothers also are highly motivated, she said.