It was an appropriate communications platform between the Metropolitan Community College chancellor and a top official for the U.S. Department of Labor, considering the reason for Deputy Secretary Chris Lu’s recent visit to Kansas City.
A conversation on Twitter following Lu’s visit June 29 coincided with the announcement of a major federal tech grant for the Full Employment Council.
MCC Chancellor Mark James and MCC-Business and Technology President Jacqueline Gill were part of a roundtable discussion with Lu hosted by the FEC and Think Big Partners, a local business alliance promoting entrepreneurship.
The exchange followed a meeting of workforce leaders in the metropolitan area, where the discussion focused on how the Kansas City area is combining resources to create high-tech jobs and how it plans to better prepare the workforce for information technology-related fields.
The roundtable was part of Lu’s visit spotlighting a $5 million TechHire grant to the Full Employment Council. The Department of Labor money is designed to fund innovative approaches that move workers into in-demand sectors.
The grant is made possible by the partnerships the FEC has formed with Think Big Partners, MCC, the University of Central Missouri, the Missouri Hospital Association, the Kansas Hospital Association and the National Tooling and Machining Association. All entities will provide work training services under the grant.
- On March 10, 2015, President Obama announced his TechHire initiative, a new campaign to expand local tech sectors by building tech talent pipelines in communities across the country. That announcement included three main components: (1) 50 communities with over 1,000 employer partners signed on to pilot accelerated training strategies; (2) large private-sector companies and national organizations committed to providing tools to support these TechHire communities; and (3) the president pledged $100 million in federal grant funding.
- On June 27, 2016, Vice President Biden and Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announced the release of $150 million in Department of Labor grants for 39 partnerships across the country. With these funds, awardees will launch innovative training and placement models to develop tech talent, as a way to keep and create jobs in local economies. In addition to federal funding, grantees are leveraging nearly $50 million in philanthropic, private and other funding to contribute to their own local partnerships.
Read media coverage of the TechHire grant announcement:
- Department of Labor: blog.dol.gov/2016/06/30/bridging-the-gap-with-techhire/
- The Kansas City Star: kansascity.com/news/business/workplace/article86718057.html
- Kansas City Business Journal: bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2016/06/28/kc-jobs-collaborative-wins-5m-federal-grant.html
- Startland News: startlandnews.com/2016/06/10m-earmarked-kansas-city-tech-talent-development/