The U.S. DOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announced the availability of approximately $40 million in grant funds of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for the Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants (SCC) program. Volta Learning Group has reviewed the funding opportunity and summarizes the opportunity below.

Number of grants: 8-16

Applications Due: 10/8/2020 – 4 pm ET

Purpose of the grant: the SCC will leverage the learnings from the TAACCCT grants and build the capacity of community colleges to collaborate with employers and the public workforce development system to meet local and regional labor market demand for a skilled workforce. The purpose of the grant is:

  • To increase the capacity and responsiveness of community colleges to address the skill development needs of employers and dislocated and unemployed workers, incumbent workers, and new entrants to the workforce
  • Offer this spectrum of workers and other individuals accelerated career pathways that enable them to gain skills and transition from unemployment to (re)employment quickly
  • Address the new challenges associated with the COVID-19 health crisis that necessitate social distancing practices and expanding online and technology-enabled learning and migrating services to a virtual environment

Grant sizes: up to $1 million for a single institution or up to $5 million for a consortium of institutions. Between 8 and 16 grants will be awarded.

Lead applicant: Community college – (either as a single institution or to represent a consortium)

Period of Performance: 48 months with anticipated start date 1/1/2021

 Focus: For a single institution: capacity building; Consortium: capacity building and systems change within one state, or across one or more community college districts within a state. SCC grants will help community colleges (and other IHEs) build capacity and leverage expertise and resources that result in increased access for individuals to acquire industry-recognized in-demand skills long after the grant ends. Build a pipeline of workers in health care, logistics, and other industries that continue to face shortages following the health crisis. Also support advancement of “industries of the future” –AI, quantum information sciences (QIS), 5G/advanced communications, biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing.

The Single institution SCC grants will involve 4 core elements:

1: Evidence-Based Design

2: Sector Strategies and Employer Engagement

3: Enhanced Career Pathway Programs and Accelerated Learning Strategies

4: Strategic Alignment with the Workforce Development System

5: (for consortia only): Innovative Systems Change

Required Partners: Workforce development system partner and employer partners. Consortia must also involve at least one state- or district-level entity. All must have a plan to bring a third-party evaluator on board by the sixth month of the project.

Selection Criteria (points)

Statement of Need (6)

Expected Outcomes and Outputs (36)

Project Design (20)

Organizational Admin and Fiscal Capacity (8)

Past Performance/Programmatic Capability (28)

Budget and Justification (2)

Opportunity Zone (Bonus points) (2)