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Mid-South Community College to Get $2M of Transportation/Logistics Grant

MSCC is the only Arkansas institution recruited to join in the consortium effort.
WEST MEMPHIS, AR (MSCC News Release) -- Mid-South Community College will receive $2,065,596 of a nearly $24 million transportation and logistics grant awarded to a regional consortium of nine 2-year institutions in eight states.

The grant is part of President Barack Obama’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, a multiyear, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade.

“If we want to stay competitive in today’s global economy, we need to equip our students with the needed skills, degrees, and training,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas in announcing the grant. “Thanks to this funding, our community colleges now have the resources they need to help their students obtain high-wage, high-skill jobs in our nation’s fastest-growing industries. This is a win-win for Arkansas students and businesses.”

First District Congressman Rick Crawford agreed.

“This is a great victory for Arkansas students and jobs, as we continue to build a well-trained workforce to attract businesses to our state,” he said. “These targeted additional resources will allow Mid-South Community College to continue its work educating Arkansans and making Arkansas a great place to live and do business.”

MSCC is the only Arkansas institution recruited to join in the consortium effort.

“We were honored to have been asked to participate in the Mississippi River Consortium project,” said MSCC President Dr. Fenter. “This very significant award gives our institution another amazing opportunity to continue our work to strategically invest in educational programs that ultimately lead to great jobs for our students. We’re excited about working with our partners to create new economic development opportunities for the region.”

“We sincerely appreciate the Department of Labor’s faith in our efforts and the support we received from Senator Pryor, Congressman Crawford, and the rest of our state’s delegation.”

MSCC received a $2.5 million TAACCCT initiative a year ago to promote skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, science, technology, and engineering.

This project partners colleges from headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico and seeks to: (1) establish transportation, distribution, and logistics sector partnerships in communities along the river, (2) recalibrate programs to align with employer needs, (3) build stacked and latticed credentials and integrate evidence-based strategies to serve TAA-eligible workers and (4) solidify the consortium for long-term collaboration.

Credentials include industry certifications; postsecondary certificates; and degrees in water, ground, and air transportation; waterway infrastructure maintenance; and logistics management. Awards will include noncredit and credit bearing postsecondary certificates, associate degrees and industry-recognized credentials.

For MSCC, the grant will enhance training in the Professional Pilot Training, Aviation Maintenance Technology, and Diesel Maintenance Technology programs. Funding will be used to secure additional instructors to double training capacity and to redesign and realign the programs with industry-demanded skills and technologies.

Lewis and Clark Community College of Illinois is serving as the leader of the Mississippi River Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Consortium. In addition to LCCC and MCSC, grant participants include Delgado Community College (Louisiana), Hinds Community College (Mississippi), John Wood Community College (Illinois), Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, St. Louis Community College (Missouri), Southwest Tennessee Community College, and West Kentucky Community & Technical College.

Among other objectives, the grantees will use the funds to transform the way they schedule, sequence and deliver education and training programs that can be completed in two years or less.

Some of the activities will include leveraging online learning to accelerate skills attainment, developing new curricula and training models to add classes and certifications, buying equipment to ensure students train on what employers actually use, and designing new programs based on the input and needs of local employers.

All course materials developed using these public funds will be available through the Open Educational Resources initiative so that others can access and build on successful training models. The U.S. Department of Commerce is also encouraging employers to collaborate with local colleges eligible for funding through this program.  

Grant applicants were required to show local labor market need for more training in specific industries, strong ties with employers in designing and delivering training activities and work-based learning, a commitment to evidence-based design and rigorous third-party evaluation, a plan for the transferability and articulation of course credit, strategic alignment with the workforce system, philanthropic organizations and other community partners, and the ability to leverage previously funded TAACCCT projects

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced $474.5 million in grants to community colleges and universities on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

“These investments in demand-driven skills training bring together education, labor, business and community leaders to meet the real-world needs of the changing global marketplace,” Secretary Perez said. “These partnerships strengthen not only the American workforce, but the American economy as well.”

The initiative complements President Obama's broader goals of ensuring that every American has at least one year of postsecondary education, and that the U.S. has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. The program is designed to have a lasting impact on higher education, emphasizing the use of evidence-based program design, collection of student outcome data and evaluation to add to the growing body of knowledge about which strategies best develop skills that lead to good jobs.

For information about high-demand, technology-intensive learning opportunities at MSCC, visit the campus at 2000 West Broadway in West Memphis, call the Admissions Office at (870) 733-6728, email admissions@midsouthcc.edu, or see the college’s website at www.midsouthcc.edu.
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