The project seeks to provide low-income adults and older youths with the skills necessary to obtain middle-skill jobs, enabling them to become financially self-sufficient. The project also is modeled to provide participants with the confidence they need so that they know they have acquired the skills employers want; that awareness will empower them to document those skills and communicate them effectively to employers.
Over the next two and one-half years, the League will work with the select group of 12 community colleges to help the institutions develop programs and services that will move low-income, low-skill individuals into middle-skill jobs. The League will disseminate the best practices from the project to other community colleges throughout the country.
In addition to El Centro College, which is part of the Dallas County Community College District, the 11 other community colleges funded are: Anne Arundel Community College (Md.); Central Piedmont Community College (N.C.); Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio); Delta College (Mich.); Kirkwood Community College (Iowa); Maricopa Community Colleges (Ariz.); Miami Dade College (Fla.); Moraine Valley Community College (Ill.); Santa Fe College (Fla.); Seattle Community Colleges (Wash.); and Sinclair Community College (Ohio).
When he announced the grants, Dr. Gerardo E. de los Santos, president and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College, expressed confidence that the Walmart Brighter Futures project will have a profound and positive impact beyond the 12 colleges.
“As with an earlier project funded by the Walmart Foundation, Brighter Futures 2.0 will lead to best practices that will expand the capacity of community colleges to enhance middle-skill job training opportunities. The League will be delighted to share the work of the 12 colleges with colleges around the country,” said de los Santos.
Through the project, each selected community college will receive up to $233,333 to provide training and services for the targeted individuals that will qualify them for middle-skill positions in the workforce. The training will focus on jobs that require 21st- century skills in an effort to provide a promising career future. In addition to specific job training, individuals will receive career counseling and job acquisition skills such as job search, résumé writing and interviewing techniques.
Dr. Paul McCarthy, president of El Centro College, said, “El Centro College appreciates the generosity of the Walmart Foundation and the leadership of the League for Innovation that makes this work possible. We are honored by our selection. This program is fully aligned with El Centro’s mission, which is ‘Changing Lives through Higher Education.’ El Centro’s staff members look forward to working with our national partners, plus our local business and community partners, to help make a difference by assisting low-income individuals prepare for middle-skill jobs.”
“The Walmart Foundation supports programs that provide people with ways to improve their lives through skills training, job readiness, job placement and support services,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. “We are proud to continue our work with the League for Innovation and expect to help 9,000 workers gain the skills they need for today’s job market through this continued effort.”