U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis spoke at Greenville Technical College last week, announcing that the college will receive $14.1 million in grant funds to lead a consortium of colleges across the state in developing programs focused on advanced manufacturing. Consortium members are Spartanburg Community College, Technical College of the Lowcountry, Tri-County Technical College, Trident Technical College, York Technical College, and Clemson University’s Center for Workforce Development.
Through four strategies, this SC ACCELERATE Partnership combines evidence-based research and best practices to form a regional vision that creates a delivery model helping adult learners get on a career track by being able to stack and lattice their credentials into a long range portfolio of competencies. Project activities include the implementation of adult postsecondary transition centers to help adult learners get on a career track aided by specialized support services; comprehensive academic and skill assessments; new instructional delivery systems to accelerate time to credential attainment through modular curricula offering fractional credit, and blended learning; self-paced technology-enhanced supplemental resources; assistance for entrepreneurs potentially including online coursework; and improved consistency across the partner colleges in the transfer and articulation of academic credits.
"These federal grants are part our ongoing commitment to strengthening American businesses by strengthening the American workforce," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. "These funds are going to expand the great work already going on at Greenville Technical College and across South Carolina to ensure that students of all ages have access to the skills and resources they need to compete for high-wage, high-skill careers."
“We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Labor for awarding us this funding and to the many partners from business, industry, education and government who worked with us to develop this important project,” said Dr. Keith Miller, Greenville Tech’s president. “Employers in our area need people with skills in advanced manufacturing to move their companies and our economy forward. This funding ensures that we can enhance and expand what we do to broaden the pipeline of qualified people.”
Dr. Anand Gramopadhye, Associate Vice President for Workforce Development at Clemson University, is leading the development of the entrepreneurship programming, another component of the SC ACCELERATE project. “Entrepreneurship is critical to South Carolina’s economic future. It’s a global strategy with local impact, supporting the creation of new companies and new jobs in South Carolina. We will be growing the innovation capacity of the state,” he said.
The South Carolina consortium is one of many grant recipients. In total, $500 million in grants will go to community colleges and universities across the country for the development of innovative training programs. The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative (TAACCCT), which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.