Tyler Junior College

TJC wins $12 million U.S. Dept. of Labor grant

Published Thursday, 20th September 2012

TJC is among 27 recipients who will share $500 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs.

Announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor, the grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers.

The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

TJC – the only Texas institution chosen as a lead college in the program – will head a consortium of four colleges nationwide in a $12,040,449 grant project that will build the capacity of the colleges to train Trade Adjustment Assistance-eligible and other adult workers for new careers in grocery retail management through an industry-endorsed curriculum and credential that is highly valued in the grocery industry and will bring multiple employment opportunities.

Other colleges in the TJC consortium are: Cerritos (Calif.) College, Clackamas (Ore.) Community College, and the University of Alaska in Anchorage.

The TJC grant proposal stemmed from a retail management certificate program launched this fall through a partnership between TJC, Tyler-based Brookshire Grocery Company and the Western Association of Food Chains. The 10-course program prepares students for career opportunities and upward mobility in the retail industry, and credits earned can potentially apply to more advanced educational programs such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said, "This is a great example of the benefits of working closely with local businesses. Brookshire’s CEO Rick Rayford – a TJC alumnus – encouraged us to help develop a training and certification program for retail management. With Brookshire’s help, the program was launched this fall with more than 100 Brookshire’s employees and now can become part of a national model.

"Our TJC team, led by professors Lindsey Gainer and Deborah Welch, worked nonstop to put together a winning grant proposal. This grant is extremely difficult to win, and the fact that TJC is the only institution in Texas to be the lead college for this competition is just the icing on the cake. Today all of us have over 12 million reasons to celebrate."

U.S. Secretary of State Hilda L. Solis said during Wednesday’s announcement, "These federal grants are part of the Obama administration’s ongoing commitment to strengthening American businesses by strengthening the American workforce.

"This strategic investment will enhance ties among community colleges, universities, employers and other local partners while ensuring that students have access to the skills and resources they need to compete for high-wage, high-skill careers."

For more information, go to: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20121885.htm.

Elise Mullinix

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