BPCC receives $3.5 mill grant

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Officials of Bossier Parish Community College were recently notified that the college has been awarded a $3.5 million grant.

It comes as part of the third installment in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) initiative.

This national initiative promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

BPCC, along with three other leading community colleges across the United States, will work as a consortium on the almost $16 million grant award. Consortium members include Consortium Leader Mount Wachusett Community College – Gardner, MA ($6,450,356); Southwest Tennessee Community College – Memphis, TN ($2,906,345); North Central State College – Mansfield, OH ($2,993,615) and BPCC – Bossier City, LA ($3,525,116). The total consortium award amount is $15,875,432.

This Advanced Manufacturing, Mechatronics, and Quality Consortium (AMMQC) will transform educational delivery methods and accelerate credential attainment in the advanced manufacturing fields of mechatronics and quality career pathways. The AMMQC will serve more than 1,720 TAA-eligible workers, veterans and other individuals in Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio and Tennessee. Each college brings to the consortium a unique expertise in the mechatronics and quality fields that will be leveraged to create and implement stacked and latticed credentials that will be shared across all four colleges.

Lisa Wheeler, BPCC’s Director of Institutional Research and Grants, says the College looks forward to the impact this award has for Louisiana. “We appreciate the opportunity to effect long-lasting change in our regional economy using these funds. We hope to purchase a mobile mechatronics training lab to take mechatronics, safety, and quality training to remote sites in Louisiana.”

Wheeler adds, “We will also expand our Industrial Readiness Training program with the mobile lab and purchase equipment for a new manufacturing and mechatronics lab in the building that is currently under construction on our campus. In addition, we will develop some open-source simulation software and curriculum for manufacturing, including modules on quality and safety instruction.”

BPCC Chancellor Jim Henderson echoes Wheeler’s statements and also applauds BPCC’s world-class faculty and staff. “Manufacturing in the 21st Century involves greater technology and demands a higher skilled workforce than ever before. This grant will enable the faculty and leadership in our engineering technologies programs to take our manufacturing skills development efforts to a world class level.”

Speaking in Colorado at Front Range Community College last week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced that $474.5 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, a multiyear, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade.

Secretary Perez said: “These investments in demand-driven skills training bring together education, labor, business and community leaders to meet the real-world needs of the changing global marketplace. These partnerships strengthen not only the American workforce, but the American economy as well.”

This latest announcement comes a year after Bossier Parish Community College, along with consortium members from eight other community colleges in Louisiana and Mississippi, received $14,710,837 in round two of the TAACCCT grant initiative.