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 Community Colleges Receive $2 Million for Wal-Mart Workforce Economic Opportunity Initiative 


AACC today announced that 20 community colleges nationwide will receive grants totaling $2 million in direct funds and technical assistance. The grants are made possible through a $2.5 million grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation. The recipient colleges will work with their local workforce development community to improve economic prosperity, with a particular focus on under-resourced and rural communities. The initiative is administered by AACC's Center for Workforce and Economic Development in collaboration with the National Center on Education and the Economy.

The 20 winners are: Yavapai College (Ariz.), Arkansas Northeastern Community College (Ark.), College of the Siskiyous (Calif.), San Diego Community College District (Calif.), Lamar Community College (Colo.), Brevard Community College (Fla.), Miami Dade College (Fla.), Kankakee Community College (Ill.), Henderson Community College (Ky.), Cape Cod Community College (Mass.), Mesabi Range Community and Technical College (Minn.), Northeast Community College (Neb.), Cumberland County College (N.J.), Umpqua Community College (Ore.), Technical College of the Lowcountry (S.C.), Western Texas College (Texas), Northern Virginia Community College (Va.), Clover Park Technical College (Wash.), Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (Wis.) and Casper College (Wyo.).

     Click here to read the full press release. (PDF)

The Wal-Mart Workforce Economic Opportunity Initiative is a 2 year $2.5 million initiative sponsored by the Wal-Mart Foundation. The purpose is to develop regional approaches to adult and postsecondary education, workforce, and economic development. Twenty colleges will receive $100,000 in funding and technical assistance for 2 years.

The aims of this program are to:

  • Improve leadership capacity of rural and remote college partnerships in response to regional labor market needs 
  • Increase the number of community colleges coordinating education, workforce, and economic development to support regional growth 
  • Strengthen accountability 
  • Raise recognition of, and support for, education and workforce development as economic development tools

Concerns that will be addressed by the initiative include:

  • Limited access to educational programs and/or services 
  • Legislative or administrative policies, process, or rules that hinder alignment of agendas 
  • Under-funded institutions 
  • Business that doesn't see the value of worker education or doesn't know how to pay for it 
  • Adult and secondary education largely disconnected from public policies and entities promoting regional economic development
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