Wallace Community College announces the award of a multi-million dollar federal grant for a mobile welding and manufacturing technology project. The College was informed of the $10,083,236 grant on Wednesday, September 19.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant was approved for the project "Alabama/Florida Technical Employment Network (AF-TEN)" to develop a future workforce and to meet emerging technical needs. Chipola College, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Northwest Florida State College, Pensacola State College, and Wallace Community College formed the consortium of Alabama and Florida colleges requesting the funds. AF-TEN identified the growing disconnect between the skills of available workers and the regional demand for employees with skills for advanced manufacturing jobs. Each school will share a portion of the award to implement the mobile welding technology program.
"We are so pleased that the Department of Labor is investing in WCC and our partner institutions as we strive to meet the workforce needs of the citizens in our region," said Dr. Linda C. Young, president of Wallace Community College. This grant will make an immediate and positive impact and will result in a highly skilled workforce to meet the current and future needs of our businesses and industries."
The project will utilize online/hybrid learning, mobile welding units, simulation technologies, and open education resources to expand learning opportunities, especially in rural areas and small towns where access to education is particularly challenging.
The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations (ADIR) lists welding among Alabama's "Hot 40 Jobs" with expected annual growth of more than 2% through 2018. Workforce Florida projects annual growth of 13,500 jobs in advanced manufacturing and construction, with 75% requiring postsecondary training.