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Third Wave of Funding Announced

Last month the United States Department of Labor announced the third installment of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) initiative for two-year colleges.

The TAACCCT initiative, which launched in 2010, has set aside $500 million in funding available for community colleges that plan to develop a training path for students to enter high-wage, high-skill careers.

This workforce development initiative is designed to encourage higher education institutions to generate creative solutions that help adult learners accelerate degree completion. Prior learning assessment programs, competency-based models and stackable credentials have been popular approaches among successful projects.

For example, 15 Massachusetts colleges shared $20 million of the grant to create or alter credentials that cater to prospective non-traditional students. As a result, the colleges intend to introduce 85 new credentials and degree offerings for students.

“This is about encouraging colleges to think more creatively,” Kathryn Jo Mannes, senior vice president for workforce and economic development at the American Association of Community Colleges, told Inside Higher Ed. “It’s not just a proposal-writing exercise. They’re meant to survive the exhaustion of federal funds.”

The final installment of the TAACCCT program is expected to be issued in 2014.