DOL grant to fund engineering technology programs
Athens Technical College is leading a trio of community colleges that won a $13.5 million-plus grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Obama administration announced Wednesday, September 19.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced $500 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs. The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
Athens Technical College is serving as the consortium leader for ATC Times Three (ATCx3) , which comprises Albany Technical College, Athens Technical College, and Atlanta Technical College, and which submitted a proposal for developing more pathways for students to earn college credentials in engineering technology. ATCx3 colleges will work with engineering firms and companies like Caterpillar, as well as state and local Department of Labor offices in creating the curricula and programs to fulfill this grant.
“We will work with Atlanta Technical College and Albany Technical College to develop Engineering Technology programs in conjunction with professional engineers from across the state,” Athens Technical College President Flora Tydings said. “This grant will allow Athens Technical College to implement associate degree programs (with stackable certificates) in Electromechanical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Environmental Engineering Technology, and Nano Engineering Technology.”
The grant also fund equipment for these new programs, to upgrade instructional technology infrastructure, to purchase four 3-D technology projection units, and to hire an instructional designer to help develop instructional materials for use in both face-to-face and distance education instructional delivery methods, Dr. Tydings said.
“Grant funds will enable us to implement aspects of the Washington I-Best model in which program faculty team teach with adult education instructors to create contextual learning environments for adults working on earning their GED,” Dr. Tydings continued. “ These students can be ‘dual enrollment’ students. We will also use grant funding to develop a state model for awarding credit for prior learning. We will receive funding also to hire achievement coaches to work with TAA Eligible students in accomplishing their career goals.
The ATCx3 colleges are three in a total, of 297 schools that will receive grants as individual applicants or as members of a consortium. The grants include 27 awards to community college and university consortia totaling $359,237,048 and 27 awards to individual institutions totaling $78,262,952.
Educational institutions will use these funds to create affordable training programs that meet industry needs, invest in staff and educational resources, and provide access to free, digital learning materials. All education materials developed through the grants will be available for use by the public and other education providers through a Creative Commons license.
These grants emphasize evidence-based program design. Each grantee is required to collect rigorous student outcome data annually and conduct final evaluations at the end of the grant period to build knowledge about which strategies are most effective in placing graduates in jobs.
For more information on the DOL TAACCT grant and a complete list of colleges awarded the grants, see: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20121885.htm