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Deadline: June 2, 2022

U.S. Department of Labor: Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants Program

The purpose of the Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants Program (SCC2) is 1) to increase the capacity and responsiveness of community colleges to address identified equity gaps, and 2) to meet the skill development needs of employers in in-demand industries and career pathways, as well as the skill development needs of marginalized and underrepresented workers. Awarded grants will focus on accelerated learning strategies that support skill development, rapid reskilling, and employment through targeted industry sectors and career pathway approaches. These strategies will also address identified equity gaps to increase full access to educational and economic opportunity–particularly for individuals from historically underrepresented and marginalized populations and communities.

In-demand industries include but are not limited to advanced manufacturing, information technology, health care, and clean energy. Applicants also may consider how the development of and/or connection to entrepreneurial training to strengthen small business growth may support the chosen career pathways, provided that the entrepreneurial training is aligned with grant goals and local economic needs. Career pathways must lead to good-quality jobs—jobs that pay family-sustaining wages, benefits, access to paid leave, opportunities for career advancement, and a platform for workers to voice their needs. Within these priorities, applicants must demonstrate that the industry sectors that they select align with the skills and needs of their economic region and the target population(s) that are key to their equity gap analysis.

SCC2 grants will focus on advancing equitable employment throughout the grant program, specifically equity gaps in opportunities for credentials, and equity in employment outcomes for the participants served by the community colleges, and may also include increasing the capacity of the colleges to make sustainable shifts in how they support equitable employment. All career pathways developed or enhanced with grant funding must lead to industry-recognized credentials. See solicitation for details.

The intended focus of SCC2 is to increase employment equity through educational and economic opportunity for historically marginalized or excluded populations such as people of color, women, individuals with disabilities, and those previously incarcerated.

Applicants may propose a project that focuses on providing services to participants who fall within any one of the following three categories: dislocated workers, new entrants to the workforce, or incumbent workers. See solicitation for definitions. Grantees must provide priority of service to veterans and spouses of certain veterans for the receipt of employment, training, and placement services in any job training program directly funded under this opportunity.

This opportunity is built around, and applicants should address, these four core elements: 1) Advancing Equity, 2) Accelerated Career Pathways, 3) Results-Driven Project Design, and 4) Sustainable Systems Change. The core elements serve as essential components of successful approaches to achieving the SCC2 Program Grants objectives. Although presented in a sequential format, the core elements are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. The SCC2 core elements may take multiple forms depending on the situation and context. See solicitation for details.

The Department anticipates that the majority of applicants will include the five specific types of allowable activities under Overarching Capacity-Building Activities:

1. Hiring and/or training instructors or staff to assist in the development and/or delivery of new or adapted curricula, development of online and distance learning, and the establishment of internships, clinical/cooperative education programs, or Registered Apprenticeships at employer sites.

2. Purchasing or upgrading classroom supplies and equipment and/or educational technologies that will contribute to the instructional purpose in education and training courses supported by the grant.

3. Activities to support implementing changes in the time or scheduling of courses and any associated costs.

4. Activities to support implementing data integration tools and any associated costs.

5. Activities necessary to support the required third-party evaluation and any associated costs.

Other allowable activities include, but are not limited to the following. See solicitation for details.

  • Reviewing and Adjusting Policies and Practices
  • Developing Comprehensive Student Supports
  • Curriculum Development
  • Program Design and Continuous Improvement
  • Partner Collaboration
  • Technology-Enabled Learning
  • Internal Data Reporting Capacity
  • Participant-Related Costs
  • Equipment and Minor Alterations

An important aspect of this grant program will be to document the capacity built and the systems change achieved by grantees, and share information about grantee successes and lessons learned. There are three aspects to third-party evaluations related to this opportunity:

  • A developmental evaluation or implementation evaluation required of all grantees. All grantees are required to retain (after award) a third-party evaluator to design and execute an evaluation of each funded project. Applicants must identify a specific cohort of students that, if awarded, they will use to track participant-level outcomes. All applicants (not just those awarded grants) will have the opportunity to engage with evaluation learnings and peer sharing from SCC2 grants. See solicitation for more detail on expected grant activities.
  • Additional SCC2 Evaluation Funding (detailed further below).
  • The requirement to participate in a Department of Labor evaluation.

Two types of funding for this training initiative are available through this opportunity:

  • SCC2 Program Grants—The Department of Labor (The Department) anticipates awarding approximately 5-7 consortia grants (with funding levels between $1.5 and $5 million), and 6-8 single institution grants (with funding levels between $1.5 and $1.6 million). Up to $5 million of SCC2 Program Grant funds will be set aside to ensure the award of at least one affinity-focused consortium grant.
  • Additional SCC2 Evaluation Funding—Applicants may opt to apply for additional evaluation funding beyond the standard grant award range to support a rigorous outcome, impact, or behavioral interventions study that assesses the effectiveness of the interventions, including whether the service delivery advances equity or other outcomes. The Department anticipates awarding additional evaluation funding to 2-4 applicants awarded SCC2 Program Grants, with a demonstrated justification for additional support to carry out an impact, outcomes, or behavioral interventions study.

Amount: An estimated 15 awards will be made, ranging from $1,500,000 to $5,000,000 over a 48 month performance period.

While matching funds are not required, leveraged funding and resources are strongly encouraged.

Eligibility: Applicants may apply as individual institutions of higher education (institutions) or as part of a consortium of institutions. For both single and consortium applicants, the lead entity must be a community college that is a public institution of higher education, and at which the associate degree is primarily the highest degree awarded. Bonus points will be awarded to lead applicants that are Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges or Universities, Minority-Serving Institutions, or Strengthening Institutions Programs using Department of Education eligibility indicators. Consortium applicants can be organized around a state focus, a regional labor market focus, or an affinity focus. Employers and the public workforce development system are required partners in all projects. See solicitation for definitions.

Link: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/skills-training-grants/scc

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