This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

October 12, 2011

Community Colleges receive Funds for Job-Training Programs

"In the world today, we have millions of people who are perfectly trained and very competent to handle jobs that no longer exist"! Finally, governments around the world and in the United States are wising up; they are becoming aware of the desperate need for workforce development---and we are not exaggerating.

In fact, there was confirmation from Hilda Solis, the US Secretary of Labor, who, in a conference call with reporters, said, "Today, we're making a strategic investment in our work force. Right now, there are high-growth industries in this country that can't find skilled labor to fill open positions. We need to train our workers to fill them. Community colleges understand the needs of local employers."

In the US, community colleges will receive about USD $500-million in federal grants in late September, the first of four payments in a USD $2-billion plan announced last year that is intended to improve career development programs and train a currently unemployable workforce.

According to the US Departments of Labor and Education, though more than 200 community colleges applied for the grants, ranging from about USD$2.7-million to USD $25-million, only 49 will receive funds so far. The chosen colleges will use the money to buy equipment, hire staff, and develop job-training curricula. Each community college to receive a grant will collaborate with at least one employer with job openings; they will work together to develop the curriculum---a partnership that is long overdue.

The range of programs is exciting. At Honolulu Community College, the program focuses on reducing the high percentage of students enrolled in remedial mathematics and English courses.

At Tidewater Community College, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 23 community colleges, will offer a variety of courses, including using new technology tools, providing improved retention services, and redesigning its developmental-education program.

Some of the courses will even teach entrepreneurship, help employers with retention, and even venture into the fields of aerospace companies and aircraft manufacturing.

Elsewhere in the world, we are seeing the same struggles by employers to find and hire good people and less outreach to bridge the gaps.

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