Berkshire Community College (BCC) has received a $735,000 workforce training grant, part of a total of $15 million awarded to the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges. Each college is allocated 75 seats for training courses, and additional funds will be made available from the grant’s remaining $3.45 million after a school expends the current allocation.
According to a press release issued by Governor Charlie Baker, the grant supports “the creation and expansion of training programs in high-demand industries, such healthcare, education, manufacturing, information technology and cybersecurity.”
The funding was earmarked in An Act Relative to Immediate COVID-19 Recovery Needs, signed by Governor Baker in December 2021. About a third of funds will be allocated to increasing training programs for the healthcare industry, which is in high demand in the Berkshires and beyond.
This award represents a direct opportunity to bolster educational training for the jobs Berkshire County needs, particularly in the Governor’s Berkshire Skills cabinet identified priority areas including Healthcare, and Advanced Manufacturing. It also serves as an important channel for reaching our underemployed population as we strive to provide the skills employers look for. We are thrilled to receive such a generous award.”
According to the governor’s release, the training programs supported by the grant aim to help populations who have traditionally experienced higher rates of unemployment and barriers to employment, as identified by the Black Advisory Commission and the Latino Advisory Commission. Priority will be given to those who are unemployed and underemployed.
“These grants complement our administration’s ongoing work to address the skills gap by building additional training capacity at all the Commonwealth’s community colleges so people have opportunities to gain hands-on skills and knowledge in growing industries,” said Governor Baker. “It is crucial that we provide more residents with quality training options and eliminate the gaps between what skills the Massachusetts workforce has, and what skills employers need.”
Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges (MACC) will jointly administer the grant program with the Executive Office of Education, and in consultation with the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and regional Workforce Investment Boards.