Berkshire Community College (BCC) is pleased to announce that the institution has been awarded $785,000 through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Community College and Career Training Grant. BCC was one of the 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges included in a system-wide proposal selected by the U.S. Department of Labor to receive the funds which will be distributed over a three-year period.
The $20 million dollar grant will assist trade impacted and other eligible citizens of the Commonwealth to attain degrees, certificates, and industry recognized credentials that will help prepare them for high wage, high skill employment in accelerated programs.
"The resources through the Department of Labor grant will be extremely beneficial to BCC's ability to develop stackable credentialing that will give us the capability of greater short term training opportunities, particularly in advanced manufacturing," said William Mulholland, Vice President for Community Education & Workforce Development. "The grant activities will ultimately result in students being able to quickly obtain the skills needed for employment and continue working toward a credit bearing certificate or attainment of an associate's degree in a shorter amount of time."
Specifically, BCC will utilize the grant funding to: strengthen its Advanced Manufacturing certificate and degree programs; improve career pathways, counseling and other academic support services; and work in greater collaboration with the region's One Stop Career Center to encourage TAA-eligible, as well as dislocated and unemployed workers to enroll in college programs. In addition, BCC faculty and staff will participate in statewide professional and curriculum development activities.
"This grant will allow BCC and the other Massachusetts community colleges to transform the way we deliver career and workforce development programing and, for our institution, provides a particular emphasis on specialized manufacturing," said Dr. Paul Raverta, President of BCC. "Additionally, the grant aligns our efforts within the community college system to the state's economic development priorities."
This is the first time that an initiative of this magnitude has been undertaken by all 15 community colleges. The grant was designed to focus on key industry sectors that reflect the strategic economic development plan of the Commonwealth: Life Sciences and Biotechnology; Information Technology; Health Care; Clean Energy; Advanced Manufacturing; and Financial Services and Entrepreneurship. Funding from this grant will provide a seamless pipeline of supports and activities from the moment the customer is notified of their layoff, to their completion of education/training, to their achievement of a new job or career; benefitting both the individual and the Commonwealth.