Posted at 3 p.m. April 25, 2017

Federal grant lends helping hand

The US Labor Department has awarded the America’s Promise grant of $1.1 million over the next three years to Laramie County Community College, which will assist students in finishing credit or non-credit programs.

For LCCC alone, this grant will cover 240 students who are in high-demand occupation programs including health care, computer technology, advance manufacturing and finance and business.

Students who are going into those areas can get tuition assistance and help to continue with their education after they finish their program, as well as help finding a job.

This federal grant was designed to create more opportunities for students to have training for high-demand occupations tuition free. Through this grant, more than $111 million has been awarded to 23 regional workforce partnerships, and at least 21,600 participants will be served through this program.

About $5 million was awarded overall to the Wyoming/Montana Partnership. This partnership includes LCCC, the Northern Wyoming Community College District, Casper College and Montana State University.

“There really aren’t any qualifications to get assistance from the grant,” Dean of Outreach and Development Maryellen Tast said. “It is based more off the type of program you are in if it falls under the grant.”.

This grant is a continuation of the Achieve Career Training Now, or ACT Now grant, that was recently completed. This grant helped 787 students over three years when only 720 students were expected to be helped within credit programs.

Out of that group of students, around 85 percent completed the program and 75 percent are now employed.

“We anticipate for this grant to do the exact same thing, to cover the gaps that aren’t covered, and to also provide wrap-around services like helping students find employment and helping them work on different skills needed,” Tast said.

The grant supports credit, moving on to advance their education and non-credit, earning a high-demand occupation credential and helping them get a job.

“The funding comes from the money that is paid into H-1B visas to bring workers in from oversees to fill those high-demand occupations here and instead of spending money to bring them from oversees, the money goes into supporting tuition assistance and to train them right here in this country,” Tast said.

This grant will be smaller than the ACT Now grant, Tast said.

“Our overall demand isn’t as high as the last program and the funding isn’t as high as the last one; however, the tuition assistance is very substantial,” Tast said.

With this grant being brand new, it can be renewed, so future funding depends on the federal government and if the Labor Department comes out with another grant that LCCC can apply for as well.

“The overall benefit to LCCC is to help students with tuition that is covered under the grant and to provide the wrap-around services,” Tast said. “To the state of Wyoming, it is really helping build a workforce for the high-demand occupations within the state and providing students the support they need to fulfill those roles.”


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