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College Takes Lead on $20M Job Training Grant

Rogers  Glispy
Peter Stroup

Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges for the first time are collaborating to develop curriculums for workforce training programs to achieve new levels of success with adult students, especially Pennsylvanians who have lost manufacturing jobs due to layoffs and plant relocations to other countries.

This effort is made possible by a three-year, $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Community College of Philadelphia, a member of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, is the administrative lead college that will administer the grant.

“Our challenge will be to help laid-off and underemployed workers to understand that short-term and long-term skill retraining is essential if they are to meet the labor demands of Pennsylvania employers, who are reporting skills gaps when screening applicants for new jobs,” said President Curtis.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant will focus on occupational areas related to health care, manufacturing, and energy production, distribution and conservation. Peter Stroup, executive director for the TAACCCT program, said the consortium will work with dozens of employer partners, state agencies and other stakeholders to build statewide capacity to retrain laid-off workers for jobs as production, planning and expediting clerks; maintenance and repair workers; machinery operators; computer-controlled machine tool operators; inspectors; testers; sorters; samplers; and weighers. These are jobs that pay an average of $38,000 to $41,880 a year.

The College also will provide training under the grant. Space in the Center for Business and Industry will be refitted with state-of-the-art equipment to provide classrooms for occupational training in the advanced manufacturing and energy fields.

“This is a completely unique opportunity for Pennsylvania’s community colleges to work together to develop new training programs in cutting-edge, high-wage occupations and build stronger partnerships with the workforce development system,” said Stroup. “It is also a rare chance, in these days of scarce resources, for colleges to retool their high-tech training programs.”

Stroup, who was hired last November, has worked for the U.S. Department of Labor and state government, as well as private and nonprofit workforce development organizations. He has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master's in City Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also completed the Summer Institute on Employment and Training at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.