Century College gets $4.6M federal grant

School one of several state institutions receiving $20M in federal funds

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Century College will receive $4.6 million from U.S. Department of Labor to develop and expand innovative training programs, a group of state lawmakers announced Thursday.

The White Bear Lake community college was one of five Minnesota technical and community colleges that received a total of $20 million in Labor Department Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program funds. Century College will use the money as the lead institution in a five-college multi-state grant.

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Reps. Betty McCollum, Collin Peterson, Tim Walz  and Rick Nolan announced the grant awards in a joint statement Thursday.

The TAACCCT grants will be used to promote skills development and employment opportunities in areas such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care. The funds will also help bolster partnerships between training providers and local employers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

“As a graduate of Minnesota’s community college system and parent of two Century College graduates, we know the power of these institutions to fill the educational needs of our communities. Community colleges play an important role in preparing Minnesotans for high-tech, quality jobs,” McCollum said. “I congratulate Century College and the other institutions on this achievement. This funding will help support the top-notch education curriculum for which Century College is known.”

Other community and technical colleges in Minnesota are receiving funding through DOL’s TAACCCT grants were:

l Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical in Winona will receive over $1.76 million as part of a 9-college, multi-state grant led by Lewis and Clark Community College in Illinois
l Pine Technical College in Pine City will receive over $6.89 million as the lead institution in a 4-college, multi-state grant;
l Central Lakes College in Brainerd will receive over $3.7 million; and
l Ridgewater College in Willmar will receive over $3 million as part of this project.

TAACCCT provides community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less, are suited for workers who are eligible for training under the TAA for Workers program, and prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations. DOL is implementing the TAACCCT program in partnership with the Department of Education.

“From paper mills to poultry lines, American industry is changing. More and more businesses are using advanced technology and need workers who have specialized skills to use it,” Klobuchar said. “This investment will help Minnesota schools continue to be a leader in preparing students for the ‘jobs of tomorrow’ that our businesses are creating today.”

“Seventy percent of the jobs in Minnesota by the year 2018 will require some kind of post-secondary education,” Franken added. “There are high-quality jobs in Minnesota that are going unfilled because our workforce doesn’t have the skills to fill them. Because of this important grant, several of our community and technical colleges will be able to develop and expand their training programs and help Minnesotans gain the skills necessary to fill open, high-demand jobs.”

“Our community and technical colleges do a tremendous job keeping pace with workforce needs in their regions, and provide affordable and accessible educational opportunities in a variety of career fields,” Peterson said.

“Every time I ask local job creators and American manufacturers for the one thing they need in order to grow their business, they all tell me the same thing: a highly skilled workforce,” Walz noted. “These grants will go a long ways towards creating that workforce and allowing hardworking southern Minnesotans to seize opportunity and find good-paying jobs.”

“In the 8th District, I’m particularly pleased to see Pine Technical College in Pine City and Central Lakes College in Brainerd receiving a combined total of just under $10 million to boost their already highly successful education and career training programs,” Nolan said. “What a boost for those institutions, their students and faculty, and the local communities that have been so supportive.”