Rogue Community College and eight community college partners in Oregon were recently awarded a $5 million consortium grant to develop a workforce pipeline for jobs in cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing.
The Oregon consortium is one of 11 recipients nationwide awarded a share of a $40 million grant package announced Jan. 15 by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Strengthening Community College Training Grant program aims to support workers as they gain new skills and transition their career paths in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants range from $1.68 million to $5 million.
Mt. Hood Community College is listed as fiscal agent for a nine-college consortium that includes RCC, Central Oregon Community College, Chemeketa Community College, Clackamas Community College, Klamath Community College, Lane Community College, Portland Community College and Southwestern Oregon Community College.
The grant will allow colleges within the consortium to develop industry-driven short-term certificate programs that will provide pathways to careers in manufacturing and cybersecurity.
“These are viable, growing industries in our area,” said Kim Freeze, RCC Dean of Art, Science and Technology. “Industry has reached out with requests for specific skills training that aligns with their need for more skilled workers in the trades. RCC has the ability to provide students with that foundation. We can be nimble and flexible in creating opportunities to provide the skills training our industry partners want. This grant is going to help elevate this project and get it moving.”
Short-term, stackable certificate programs can train workers with industry-specific job skills in as little as four to six weeks. “Our industry partners tell us they need workers ready to go,” Freeze said. “RCC plans to have training programs ready to go by fall.”
Rogue Workforce Partnership and Quantum Innovations are local partners listed on the grant.
“The Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants will play an important role in helping workers to reskill as quickly as possible with industry-recognized credentials and accelerated pathways to degrees,” John Pallasch, the Department of Labor’s assistant secretary for employment and training, said in a news release. “These grants are among the range of actions the Department is taking to aid American workers and employers as our nation combats the coronavirus pandemic.”