WASHINGTON – The pandemic worsened disparities in economic outcomes across racial, ethnic and gender lines. Today, the U.S. Department of Labor is announcing a $45 million funding availability to help people in marginalized and underrepresented populations overcome barriers to access career and technical education programs that can help connect them with good-paying jobs.

Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, these Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants will allow public and state institutions of higher education and community colleges – individually or collectively – improve their ability to address equity gaps and meet the skills development needs of employers and workers. The department will award grants of up to $1.6 million for single institutions and up to $5 million for consortiums, with up to $5 million designated to fund at least one affinity consortium grant.

This second round of grant funding focuses on accelerated learning strategies to support career pathway development through rapid reskilling, training and employment through targeted industry sectors. It also builds on the knowledge gained through the grant program’s initial $40 million investment and through $1.9 billion in prior investments from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants awarded from 2011-2018.

These efforts align with the Biden-Harris administration’s vision to build the capacity of community colleges and other public and state institutions of higher education that serve large numbers of underrepresented populations to deliver in-demand skills training through strategic partnerships between industry, education, labor and the workforce system.

To increase access to educational and economic opportunities – particularly for individuals from historically underrepresented and marginalized populations – the department will give special consideration to applications submitted by Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Minority-Serving Institutions Programs or Strengthening Institutions Programs using the U.S. Department of Education’s eligibility indicators. 

Learn more about the department’s Employment and Training Administration.

Learn more about this funding opportunity.

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