The U.S. Department of Labor announced $175 million in funding for community colleges, to grow and enhance the manufacturing education and training programs. The funding is part of the $500 million 2012 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grants Program awards.

Access to talented individuals with a high-quality education and advanced skills is critical to manufacturers’ capacity for innovation and business success. “With the skills gap in manufacturing at an all-time high, and 600,000 jobs going unfilled as a result, these grants will enable students to earn the skills they need to access and advance in manufacturing jobs,” says Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing Institute, Washington, D.C. “It will also support schools in building quality, relevant manufacturing programs that offer individuals industry-based certifications.”

The Manufacturing Institute continues to work in communities across the country to help manufacturers partner with community and technical colleges to attract, qualify and develop world-class manufacturing talent. This funding will allow for community and technical colleges to align their programs of study to the standards of industry-based credentials, increasing the number of individuals with certifications that make them eligible for in-demand manufacturing jobs.

This funding amplifies early work of the Institute in several communities, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education, Alcoa Foundation, and Joyce Foundation to expand manufacturing education pathways in community and technical colleges through the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System. These programs help get unemployed Americans back to work, allow individuals to advance in their career and higher education goals, and prepare new talent for high-quality manufacturing jobs.