Development will take place throughout San Diego County and the Inland Empire
Oceanside CA— MiraCosta College will drive an ambitious workforce development program that partners industry leaders with community colleges to educate and train people from underserved populations at no cost for high-skilled, in-demand jobs, thanks to a new, $6-million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
“MiraCosta College has a well-deserved reputation for innovative workforce development programs that promote economic growth and we are honored to lead this unprecedented effort that brings industry groups and community colleges together to put people to work,” said Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke, Superintendent/President of the MiraCosta Community College District, who also serves as chair of the California Community Colleges Strong Workforce Task Force.
The ‘America’s Promise’ grant, the only one awarded in California, will fund programs at MiraCosta, Cuyamaca, Grossmont and Chaffey community colleges to prepare residents for jobs now being taken by holders of H-1B visas. (H-1B visas allow employers to temporarily hire foreign workers in occupations that require a specialized knowledge or skill.) Dubbed the SoCal Promise, the new initiative will recruit, educate, train and employ San Diego and Inland Empire residents who have found barriers to finding work – including veterans, Native Americans, ex-offenders, the unemployed and non-traditional learners – for careers in advanced manufacturing, information technology and emerging technology careers.
As part of the SoCal Promise, community colleges will partner with industry leaders, including the San Diego Maritime Alliance, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California, the National Tool & Machining Association, California Steel Industries, and the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire.
Tuition and fees not covered by financial aid such as Pell Grants and fee waivers will be covered by SoCal Promise grant funds.
“By removing the cost of instruction, we are removing a substantial barrier to completing a higher education,” said Dr. Cooke. “This will open up the door for more students from a variety of backgrounds to take advantage of intensive training that will prepare them for high-wage, high-skill and high-demand opportunities.”
The grant was among the largest of more than $111 million awarded to 23 colleges, universities and workforce partnerships across the country. America’s Promise grants are designed to accelerate the development and expansion of regional workforce partnerships committed to providing a pipeline of skilled workers in specific sectors. Each grant requires a partnership that includes industry leaders, senior level leadership from workforce and economic development organizations, secondary and post-secondary education institutions, elected officials, and other community stakeholders.
MiraCosta College programs will be headquartered at its Technology Career Institute (TCI) in Carlsbad. SoCal Promise programs centered at MiraCosta’s TCI will include machinist technology, CNC programming, robotics, quality control technician, craft brewing technology, electronic assembly, and marine engineering technician.
Education and training programs at Grossmont College will include information technology, computer science, cybersecurity and drone technology. Programs at Cuyamaca College will include mechatronics, practical engineering and cybersecurity. And education and training programs at Chaffey College’s InTech Center will include industrial maintenance electrical and instrumentation, industrial maintenance mechanics, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
MiraCosta College has become a leader in building the local economy and is responsible for pumping $338.4 million to San Diego County’s Gross Regional Product annually, enough to support more than 5,000 jobs in its service area, according to a recent study from an Idaho-based firm that specializes in analyzing the impacts of colleges and universities.
“We are very grateful to the Obama administration for encouraging these types of work skills training programs by providing federal funding available to community colleges,” said Linda Kurokawa, Director of Community Education & Workforce Development at MiraCosta College. “It allows individuals plenty of affordable options to gain mid-level technical skills for employment in exciting and emerging technologies. I am truly honored to be part of the solution to create middle income jobs for Americans.”