Technical colleges win $23 million grant

Wisconsin’s employers and workers will benefit from a $23.1 million investment by the U.S. Department of Labor, which yesterday announced a grant to Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges to address emerging needs in the Information Technology (IT) sector.

The successful grant application applies to the third installment of a multi-year, nearly $2 billion federal initiative designed to increase community college credential attainment in high-priority economic sectors. In the previous round, the technical colleges won an $18.3 million grant to expand innovative programs that produce high-skilled workers in advanced manufacturing.

“Collaboration within our system has allowed us to leverage more than $41 million to address the strategic needs and priorities we’ve identified with our workforce and economic development partners,” said Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna Foy. “That’s pretty exciting for Wisconsin.”

The most recent grant will allow the colleges to enhance and expand career pathways not only within cutting-edge IT programs, but also within other critical sectors – such as health care and manufacturing – that increasingly require workers with advanced IT competencies. Drew Petersen, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board and an executive with TDS Telecom said, “Our programs are uniquely industry-driven, and these funds will allow us to scale innovation in response to needs identified by our employer partners in the IT space.”

Wisconsin’s technical colleges received one of the largest single awards from the Department of Labor’s investment, and the collaboration makes the technical college system one of the few applicants to receive back-to-back grants. Grant implementation will begin in October.