Grants

White House Offers $100 Million Competitive Grants To Push Free Community College

The new competitive grants build on the executive office’s plan to offer free community college programs and connect students to high-growth careers.

The White House announced an additional investment of $100 million in competitive grants that are intended to connect more Americans to education and workforce training. The America’s Promise Job-Driven Training grants (America’s Promise Grants) build on the executive branch’s proposal last year to offer two years of free community college for students across the U.S.

According to a news release, the America’s Promise Grants “will help communities catalyze new and strengthen existing partnerships and programs to provide more Americans access to the knowledge and skills they need to pursue their educational and career goals, particularly in high-growth sectors like technology, manufacturing and health care.”

Vice President Joe Biden made the announcement on Monday at the Community College of Philadelphia. The community college launched a free program last April that was modeled after the America’s College Promise plan, a joint state and federal effort to give responsible students two years of free instruction at a community college.

The plan originally called for all states to offer free community college and was estimated to benefit 9 million students. Currently, there are 27 new programs collectively adding over $70 million in public and private investments, but only serving 40,000 students. To reach original projections, the executive office is calling on Congress to take action on the America’s College Promise Act of 2015 to help communities accept the plan’s vision to make two years of college as universal as high school. Additionally, the 27 programs are now part of the president’s Heads Up America campaign.

Beginning this summer, community colleges, K-12 systems, workforce development boards and community organizations can compete for the grants. The Department of Labor’s H-1B visa program will fund the grants and will use them to create innovative partnerships between community colleges and employers, training providers the public workforce. Finally, the grants are designed to help serve underemployed and low-income workers by providing them training for in-demand jobs.

"Every American, whether they’re young or just young at heart, should be able to earn the skills and education necessary to compete and win in the 21st century economy,” said President Barack Obama in a new release.

Details about the sizes and numbers of grants will be released in the upcoming weeks. Further information can be found on the White House site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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