The Obama administration on Monday announced a new $100 million grant program to help community colleges and other schools start or bolster tuition-free training and education arrangements with local industry, emphasizing technology, health care and manufacturing.
Starting this summer, community colleges will be able to compete for America’s Promise Job-Driven Training grants, according to a summary of a speech delivered by vice president Joe Biden at the Community College of Philadelphia. The grants will be funded by the Department of Labor through fees generated by the H-1B visa program, which allows U.S. companies to temporarily hire foreign workers in special occupations.
The goal is “to create and expand innovative regional and sector partnerships between community colleges and other training providers, employers, and the public workforce system to create more dynamic, tuition-free education and training programs for in-demand middle and high-skilled jobs across the country,” according to a White House statement. Community colleges, K-12 systems, workforce development boards and community organizations are eligible to apply.
A Labor Department spokesman said that details about the sizes and numbers of the grants would be released in a few weeks. Among other things, grant applications will be reviewed for how well the programs aid the unemployed, the under-employed and help low-wage workers improve their skills.
The grants are part of the Obama administration’s goal of a joint state and federal effort to offer two years of community college education tuition-free to eligible students with decent grades.