White House creates $100 million grant program for community college-employer partnerships

'America's College Grants' build on free two-year tuition programs

This week the White House announced it will award $100 million in federal grants to promote community college partnerships with employers and workforce training companies. 

With the "America's Promise Grants," the Obama administration is looking to narrow the skills gap by pulling employers into curriculum development and fill high-demand, regional positions. As part of the partnerships, students will have the opportunity to learn relevant skills through paid work, internships, or work-based learning.

"America's Promise Grants will help communities catalyze new and strengthen existing partnerships and programs to offer more Americans access to the knowledge and skills they need to pursue their educational and career goals, particularly in high-growth sectors like technology, manufacturing, and health care," according to a White House release

How to identify knowledge and skills gaps

Schools may begin applying for the grants this summer—either in order to set up a new program or expand on existing ones. Funding will come from the Department of Labor's H1-B visa program.

During the announcement, White House officials also praised programs developed under the related America's College Promise initiative. So far, about 40,000 students have attended community college for free though 27 new programs that used $70 million in private and public investments (Gewertz, "High School & Beyond," Education Week, 4/25; White House release, 4/25). 

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