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Labor Department Starts Workforce Initiative for Community Colleges

In order to increase the number of skilled workers in the country, the American Association of Community Colleges and the U.S. Department of Labor are partnering up to start a new initiative.

The Virtual Apprenticeship Network (VAN) initiative will identify, validate, promote highly successful apprenticeship models and work-based learning programs, and create 16,000 new apprenticeships by providing resources to community colleges and employers.

“We are so proud to partner with the Department of Labor on this critical work. It is imperative that we continue to advance student success in all of its forms. Creating new and better ways at the intersection of students and employers just makes sense,” Walter G. Bumphus, AACC’s president and CEO, said.

“These are industry-relevant apprenticeship programs that are recognized and/or registered and will result in thousands of students that are job-ready and a newly imagined network of apprenticeships that will serve industry employers’ needs for decades to come.”

The association will also work with four global companies and their local community colleges to train 1,000 apprentices over the next three years. The companies will develop and implement specific programs designed to ensure their specific needs for qualified and trained employees are met.

Earlier this month, the association received $100,000 from the All Within My Hands Foundation (AWMH), started by the heavy metal band Metallica to train and provide skills to community college students prior to entering the workforce.

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