Are you ready for employment in a new field?

Posted by Ronald | May 8, 2014  |  No Comment

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic, 288,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy last month lowering the previous unemployment rate by 0.4 percentage points to 6.3 percent. Knowing where the jobs are in this economy is one thing. Having the skill set to do the job is another. For this feature, the critical questions to be asked are: Are you ready for employment in a new field? Where can you get the training for jobs in a new field? How many skilled workers are needed?

On May 1, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) announced a $4.19 million three-year grant from Walmart Foundation to support the Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) initiative. The grant also includes $2.67 million directly supporting 17 community colleges across the U.S., representing 13 selected mentee colleges and four selected mentor colleges.

The JRWA initiative will provide middle-skill training, industry recognized credentials and access to employment across varying industry sectors in each of the 17 communities. Students who have access to high-quality education and training programs, relevant and quality job opportunities, and public benefits and supports are more apt to persist and succeed.

The17 participating colleges were selected through a highly competitive process. The four select mentor colleges will get support from the National Association of Workforce Boards, AACC, AACC Affiliate Councils and industry associations. Mentors were selected from AACC’s 2008–2010 Workforce Economic Opportunity Initiative funded by Walmart Foundation and will provide additional guidance to 13 mentee colleges. All 17 colleges will address current and potential growth of jobs in their communities.

All colleges will work closely with local businesses, economic development leaders and the area workforce systems to collaboratively address the needs of the unemployed. The initiative aims to provide more than 5,000 unemployed adults with new skills, credentials and jobs. As an example, these programs will provide support to unemployed mineworkers in rural Kentucky in learning electrical linemen skills, industrial mechanics and manufacturing certificates in Utah, viticulture skills in Oregon, office assistant training in Pennsylvania and Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) programs in Colorado.

The 13 mentee colleges selected for the JRWA initiative are Grossmont College (Calif.); Community College of Aurora (Colo.); St. Johns River State College (Fla.); Kirkwood Community College (Iowa); Ivy Tech Community College (Ind.); Hazard Community and Technical College (Ky.); Jamestown Community College (N.Y.); Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio); Montgomery County Community College (Penn.); Northeast State Community College (Tenn.); Tarrant County College District (Texas); Snow College (Utah); and West Virginia University at Parkersburg (W.Va.).

The four selected mentor colleges are Arkansas Northeastern College (Ark.); Northeast Community College (Neb.); Umpqua Community College (Ore.); and Northern Virginia Community College (Va.).

According to AACC president Dr. Walter Bumphus, “We are proud to continue our work with Walmart Foundation at a time when the nation is focused on middle-skill careers and opportunities. This initiative is a model for how community colleges can connect students with specific, sustainable jobs in their communities and contribute to long-term economic growth.”

 Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of five books, “Education Questions to be Answered,”  “Current Issues and Answers in Education,”  “How to Eradicate Hazing,” “Professional Career Paths” and “Your Answers to Education Questions.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper.  Holmes is a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected]

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