The American Association of Community Colleges has announced a grant of nearly $4.2 million from the Walmart Foundation in support of efforts to help community colleges prepare and place students in middle-skill jobs.
Through the Job Ready, Willing and Able initiative, seventeen community colleges will be selected to work with local employers to provide unemployed individuals with training and access to middle-skill jobs beginning this spring. The initiative will build on the Workforce Economic Opportunity Initiative, a $2.5 million program funded by the Walmart Foundation and administered by AACC and the National Center on Education and the Economy that supported the efforts of twenty predominately rural community colleges to respond to workforce and economic development challenges. Four of the colleges that participated in that initiative will be selected to serve as mentors to the new cohort of schools.
In addition, AACC will provide participating colleges with tools — including the Virtual Career Network platform, which it launched with support from the U.S. Department of Labor — to help connect students with jobs in high-growth industries. Colleges participating in the initiative also will provide wrap-around services in support of job opportunities for those who need those services the most.
"With the support of the Walmart Foundation, this network of community colleges will boost the employability of residents while building sustainable partnerships with the workforce community," said AACC president and CEO Walter G. Bumphus. "This is not just a grant — it's an investment that will go a long way toward revitalizing the communities these colleges serve and ensuring people are on a promising career track."