WKCTC Receives $2.7 million Grant to Expand Training Programs

West Kentucky Community and Technical College will receive $2.7 million dollars to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade, the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced.

WKCTC is part of the Mississippi River Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Consortium (MRTDL), led by Lewis and Clark Community College.  The consortium will receive a total of $23.8 million in grant funds for nine community colleges located in eight states along the Mississippi River Region.

The MRTDL consortium member colleges are committed to advancing economic development in the Mississippi River region and are dedicated to the placement of dislocated and other workers in high-wage, high-skill occupations in the vital transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL) and related industry sectors.  In addition to WKCTC, members of the consortium include Delgado Community College (New Orleans, LA); Hinds Community College (Raymond, MS); John Wood Community College (Quincy, IL); Mid-South Community College (West Memphis, AR); Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical (Winona, MN); St. Louis Community College (St. Louis, MO); and Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis, TN). 

The grant comes through the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Community College and Careering Training grant program, a multi-year nearly $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade.

The MRTDL consortium partners seek to establish transportation, distribution and logistics sector partnerships in communities along the river; recalibrate programs to align with employer needs; build stacked and latticed credentials and integrate evidence-based strategies to serve TAA-eligible workers (those who have suffered job loss or whose jobs are threatened due to foreign trade); and solidify the consortium for long-term collaboration.  All along the 2,300-mile stretch of the Mississippi River, businesses in TDL-related industries are poised to hire, train or retrain individuals for existing and future high-wage, high-skill occupations. At the same time, many TAA-eligible workers, unemployed veterans and other unemployed, underserved or low-income groups lack the training and skills they need to fill these positions. 

WKCTC will utilize its funding to expand workforce training programs in the transportation, distribution and logistics career sector, said Dr. Steve Freeman, vice president of institutional development. The three-year grant will provide resources to expand and enhance the college’s marine technology and logistics and operations management programs and online classes.

Receiving the federal grant could not come at a better time for the region, especially with recent announcements of area layoffs. “It’s not the answer. It’s a part of the answer,” Freeman said, “but it is another resource that will enable the college to expand its capacity to provide additional training to this segment of our community.”

For more information about the Department of Labor’s TAACCCT grant program view the latest release here: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20130737.htm.