Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 11:33am

JCC is among 17 community colleges nationwide that will share support from Walmart Foundation for workforce development initiatives.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) recently announced a $4.19 million three-year grant from Walmart Foundation to support the Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) initiative, including $2.67 million that directly supports 17 community colleges across the country.

The JRWA initiative will provide middle-skill training, industry recognized credentials, and access to employment across various industry sectors in each of the 17 communities. Students who have access to high quality education and training programs, relevant and quality job opportunities, and public benefits and support are more apt to persist and succeed.

The 17 participating colleges were selected through a highly competitive process. Arkansas Northeastern College, Northeast Community College (NE), Umpqua Community College (OR), and Northern Virginia Community College (VA) will be mentor colleges, with support from AACC, the National Association of Workforce Boards, AACC Affiliate Councils, and industry associations.

Mentors were selected from AACC’s 2008–2010 Workforce Economic Opportunity Initiative funded by Walmart Foundation and will provide additional guidance to 13 mentee colleges. Besides JCC, the mentees include Grossmont College (CA), Community College of Aurora (CO), St. Johns River State College (FL), Kirkwood Community College (IA), Ivy Tech Community College (IN), Hazard Community and Technical College (KY), Cuyahoga Community College (OH), Montgomery County Community College (PA), Northeast State Community College (TN), Tarrant County College District (TX), Snow College (UT), and West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Arkansas Northeastern College will serve as the mentor institution for JCC.

All of the participants address current and potential growth of jobs in their communities. Examples range from unemployed mineworkers in rural Kentucky learning electrical lineman skills, to sector strategies including industrial mechanics and manufacturing certificates in Utah, viticulture skills in Oregon, office assistant training in Pennsylvania and certified nurse aide programs in Colorado.

The colleges will work closely with local businesses, economic development leaders, and area workforce systems to collaboratively address the needs of the unemployed. The initiative aims to provide more than 5,000 unemployed adults with new skills, credentials, and jobs.

JCC plans to prepare unemployed individuals for opportunities in manufacturing, healthcare support occupations, business services, and educational services through its certificate programs in machine tool technology, computer-aided design and computer numerical control, welding technology, industrial equipment technology, medical office technology, office technology, and early childhood development.

JCC is well prepared to deliver this education and workforce development program through a team effort with internal and external partners, notes Eileen Goodling, JCC’s vice president for student development.

“The grant provides a very exciting opportunity for JCC and the community to partner in offering support for unemployed workers to become newly trained in skills that are relevant to regional employers,” said Dr. Goodling. “Our goal is to provide assistance to allow a significant number of workers to reenter the local workforce over the next three years.”

“We are proud to continue our work with Walmart Foundation at a time when the nation is focused on middle-skill careers and opportunities,” said Walter Bumphus, AACC president and chief executive officer. “This initiative is a model for how community colleges can connect students with specific, sustainable jobs in their communities and contribute to long-term economic growth.”


About the American Association of Community Colleges
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) delivers educational and economic opportunity for 13 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,200 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers, and family supporting wages. AACC advocates for not-for-profit, public serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility. 

About the Center for Workforce and Economic Development
AACC’s Center for Workforce and Economic Development (AACC CWED), a division within AACC, specifically focuses on student engagement, persistence, and completion of students in industry recognized credentialed programs. AACC CWED connects national and local employers to the colleges, ensures alignment with industry affiliates and networks that can support sector specific initiatives, and supports the success of every student to employment, further education and training, and/or the necessary credential to improve job status. AACC CWED has an extensive history of working with industry partners, foundations, and workforce and economic development partners and colleges to identify best practices and make them common practices across member colleges.

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