Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Black, Hispanic, American Indian Colleges May Reap Gains from New Grant Program

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Black, Hispanic, American Indian Colleges May Reap Gains from New Grant Program

Article excerpt

Historically Black colleges and other institutions with a history of serving minority students stand to benefit from a new U.S. Department of Labor program to improve the skills of tomorrow's work force.

The department is looking for HBCUs, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges that can serve as "catalysts" to build quality programs to address skill shortages in their communities. Many top employers nationwide are reporting a shortage of qualified workers in key professions, including technology and engineering.

Labor officials say they decided to focus on minority-serving colleges because African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians also are under-represented in many of these professions. If they receive grants, these colleges would work with specific employers in their region to identify skill shortages and develop plans to address such issues.

Under the plan, these minority colleges would create or join regional alliances to address these topics. Training programs must focus on those leaving school as well as dislocated workers and other adults returning to the work force.

The Labor Department will fund both partnership building grants and training grants. Partnership building grants will consist of four phases: coalition building and assessment; plan development; testing and monitoring. These grants should increase opportunities for minority colleges to play a significant role in addressing skill shortages. Colleges also should get access to timely work-force data and develop a broad-based curriculum plan to continue after federal funding ends. …

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