U.S. Dept. of Labor Awards SIUE Nearly $10-Million Grant

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The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a grant worth $9,956,011 to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) initiative. The funding is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education.

SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe

... further demonstrates SIUE’s vision of innovative and interdisciplinary programs that empower individuals to achieve their full potential.

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a grant worth $9,956,011 to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) initiative. The funding is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education.

Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the winners of $450 million in job-driven training grants to nearly 270 colleges across the country.

The grants will provide institutions of higher education with funds to partner with employers to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career-training programs that will help job seekers get the skills they need for in-demand jobs in industries like information technology, health care, energy and advanced manufacturing.

The Building Illinois’ Bioeconomy (BIB) consortium is comprised of five higher education institutions spanning the state of Illinois: SIUE, Lewis and Clark Community College (L&C) in Godfrey, Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) in Springfield, Carl Sandburg College (CSC) in Galesburg and Southeastern Illinois College (SIC) in Harrisburg.

While community colleges have historically led TAACCCT consortia, BIB partners believe strongly that SIUE’s leadership will facilitate and strengthen the employability of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)-eligible workers and other students through the consortium’s combined network of career pathways, emphasizing certificate programs that can be completed in two years or less.

“SIUE is proud to be the lead partner in building a regional coalition of higher education institutions to train a skilled workforce in biotechnology,” said Julie Furst-Bowe, SIUE chancellor. “Our consortium has teamed to establish transformative career pathways that prepare students for jobs in the fields of bioprocessing and water management.

“Students will benefit from specialized training at the NCERC at SIUE and at the Environmental Resources Training Center, with innovative online learning tools, unparalleled hands-on learning opportunities, and access to the Centers’ research and industry expertise. This announcement further demonstrates SIUE’s vision of innovative and interdisciplinary programs that empower individuals to achieve their full potential.”

“The grant will also create the first ever bioprocess technician certificate program in the nation that we anticipate will set the standard for training skilled workers to manage bioprocessing plant operations, which are taking an ever increasing importance in the nation’s economy,” said Parviz Ansari, SIUE provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “We look forward to working with the Department of Labor and the Building Illinois Bioeconomy Consortium to make these programs a reality.”

BIB aims to merge the collective strengths and resources of each partner school with a network of committed employers to establish a transformative series of career pathways. This comprehensive plan will connect veterans, TAA-eligible workers, unemployed persons, underserved minorities, and rural workers with in-demand careers that directly contribute to Illinois’ and the nation’s economic and environmental sustainability.

In addition to the TAA-eligible workers, several of the BIB’s grant-funded programs will be available to impacted workers in other regions of Illinois, as well as other states where appropriate authorizations for distance education exist. With many programs available either completely online or in hybrid format, these credentials can be earned by TAA-eligible workers and veterans in regions where similar training does not exist. In cases of hybrid programs requiring classroom or laboratory components, BIB colleges will grant credit for courses taken at the student’s local college or set up a remote adjunct faculty agreement to fulfill those requirements.

These investments will help prepare workers with the skills needed for in-demand careers and advance the role of colleges as engines of economic growth,” said Perez. “The award is part of a long-term commitment to ensure that American workers have access to training for the specific skills needed to stay competitive in the ever-changing job market.”

About Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT)
This round of funding builds on the Obama Administration’s focus on job-driven training by requiring grantees to expand employer engagement throughout the grant process. These employer and industry partners have identified necessary skills and competencies and will assist in designing curricula, programs, assessments or credentials that will help quickly connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.

The grants will expand programs in growing industries, such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, and encourage geographic and industry sector collaboration. All course materials developed using these public funds will be available as Open Educational Resources so that others can access and build on successful training models.

A White House fact sheet is available for further details.

About The NCERC
The NCERC at SIUE is a nationally recognized research center dedicated to the development and commercialization of biofuels, specialty chemicals and other renewable compounds. The Center’s fully functional dry grind pilot plant and laboratories are equipped with advanced biofuels capabilities including corn fractionation, pretreatment, and a fermentation suite with 5, 30, 150 and 1500L scale-up. Industry veterans with more than 100 years of collective experience in fermentation and biofuels production staff facilities. This knowledgeable team has the flexibility and expertise to design and carry out projects in any region of the advanced biofuels or specialty chemicals space. For more information, contact Courtney Breckenridge, (618) 659-6737 ext. 230, cbreckenridge(at)ethanolresearch(dot)com, or visit http://www.ethanolresearch.com.

About SIUE
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.

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