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Mission Critical Community Colleges Use Business Partnerships, Grants to Train New IT Workers

Community College Journal Volume 85, Number 3, ISSN 1067-1803


Community colleges are using grants and workforce partnerships to train a new generation of technology workers. In September, the Obama administration awarded $450 million in grants to nearly 270 community colleges that have partnered with more than 400 employers nationally. It was the final installment of a four-year, $2 billion competitive grant program called Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT). The program's goal is to have community colleges partner with employers to deliver the education and training that people need for in-demand jobs in fields such as IT, health care, energy, and advanced manufacturing. In 2014, 25 grant winners focused on developing new training programs for IT and cybersecurity jobs, which are growing at twice the national average, according to the federal government. In fact, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million additional IT jobs but only 400,000 computer science graduates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Steve Greenfield, Montgomery College's dean of instruction for business, information technology, and safety, says the TAACCCT grant allows community colleges to become engines of workforce and economic development, and industry partnerships are vital for success. Montgomery College in Rockville, Md., is part of a consortium, made up of 14 community colleges and 40 employers, that just received $15 million in TAACCCT funds to educate Maryland residents for entry-level cybersecurity jobs. The consortium focuses on cybersecurity because there are 23,000 unfilled IT security jobs in the D.C. region, and 100,000 statewide, Greenfield says. Associations such as the Tech Council of Maryland and companies such as IBM, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin are playing a central role in implementing the grant. "They will work side by side with our faculty to develop the curriculum and keep it up to date," Greenfield says. "They will guest-speak in classrooms and provide job and internship programs to our students." The 14 Maryland community colleges already offer IT education programs, but the grant will allow them to implement new cybersecurity certificate programs that include web and mobile-device security. The consortium will now focus on hiring more professors, developing the curriculum, and building new cybersecurity simulation labs.


Wong, W. (2015). Mission Critical Community Colleges Use Business Partnerships, Grants to Train New IT Workers. Community College Journal, 85(3), 32-36. Retrieved June 5, 2023 from .

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