FGCU, Miami Dade College Getting Workforce Training Funds From Commerce Department

This week, U.S. Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo announced grant awards to 32 industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country as part of the $500 million “Good Jobs Challenge” funded by President Joe Biden’s “American Rescue Plan,” including for two higher education institutions in Florida.

The Good Jobs Challenge is administered by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration and will enable communities across the country to invest in innovative approaches to workforce development that will secure job opportunities for more than 50,000 Americans.

The 32 winning projects were selected from a competitive pool of 509 applicants. By partnering with labor unions, community colleges, industry, and other stakeholders, these projects will solve for local talent needs and increase the supply of trained workers and help workers secure jobs in 15 key industries that are essential to U.S. supply chains, global competitiveness, and regional development. This funding will advance a broad range of sectors—including agriculture and food production, energy and resilience, healthcare, manufacturing and information technology—jumpstarting the design, development, implementation, and expansion of training programs that are tailored specifically to each community.

“A trained workforce is essential to ensuring that the United States can compete and succeed in the 21st century,” said Raimondo. “Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Commerce Department is able to make once-in-a-generation investments in industry-driven, and locally-led workforce systems that will create high-quality jobs and accelerate regional economic growth, especially for underserved communities.”

“These projects will expand access to the workforce and increase labor participation through a focus on job quality and equity. The projects will serve and support a broad range of individuals from underserved populations across the country in urban and rural areas, including members of Latino, African American, Indigenous, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, as well as women, the formerly incarcerated, and those recovering from substance abuse disorders. By providing access to high-quality jobs that include good pay, benefits and career mobility for Americans who need it most and simultaneously serving vital industries, these grants will support flourishing regional economies that in turn benefit the nation’s growth, competitiveness and resilience. Many of these investments also advance the goals of the president’s Talent Pipeline Challenge to create equitable workforce development opportunities for infrastructure jobs,” the Commerce Department noted.

The Good Jobs Challenge is part of a suite of American Rescue Plan programs developed by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to equitably distribute its $3 billion allocation to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build a better America by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building more resilient, shockproof local economies. EDA is currently evaluating all applications and will announce grantees for the full suite of programs by September 30, 2022.

Florida Gulf Coast University is getting a $22.9 million grant to focus on the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics; Healthcare; Manufacturing; and Education industries.

Miami Dade College is getting a $10 million grant to focus on the Information Technology industry.

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