Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are creating a workforce development program to educate and train people from underserved populations at no cost for “high-skilled, in-demand jobs,” thanks to a new $6 million federal Department of Labor grant, officials are reporting Monday.
The America’s Promise grant will help fund recruitment, training and employment of those who have faced job barriers — including veterans, Native Americans, ex-offenders and the unemployed, according to a news release from the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
Targeted education and training programs at Cuyamaca College include mechatronics (also known as robotics), practical engineering and cybersecurity. At Grossmont College, they include information technology, computer technology, cybersecurity and drone technology, according to the release.
Dubbed the SoCal Promise, the grant will fund these programs that prepare area residents for jobs in industries that have traditionally relied on the H-1B visa program, which allow employers to fill workforce needs by temporarily hiring foreign workers in occupations requiring a specialized knowledge or skill, typically in tech fields, the release continued.
California has the second largest number of H-1B certifications of any state besides Texas, the release stated.
“This grant will help us transform what we do as community colleges by creating high-wage, high-demand opportunities that target underserved populations,” said Javier Ayala, dean of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development at Grossmont College.
The grant was among the largest of more than $111 million awarded in total to 23 colleges, universities and workforce partnerships across the country, according to the release.
Tuition and fees for workforce development programs not covered by financial aid such as Pell Grants and fee waivers will be covered by SoCal Promise grant funds, the release stated.