Chaffey College was recently awarded nearly $15 million to create an advanced manufacturing training center at California Steel Industries in Fontana, and officials said the grant will provide a major economic boost to the local area.
Chaffey received the funds from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program, which is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education.
"We're really excited to be involved in a community effort to train our workforce," said Kathy Dutton, director of employment development at Chaffey.
She said that 3,000 students will be able to benefit from the program over a four-year period, starting in 2015.
Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary Thomas E. Perez, and Secretary Arne Duncan announced the 2014 recipients of $450 million in job-driven training grants which will serve nearly 270 community colleges across the country.
Chaffey College and the Inland Empire Regional Training Consortium (IERTC) will receive $14,980,284 to improve manufacturing training in the Inland Empire.
Of the 71 grantees named across the nation, Chaffey and the IERTC are the sole California recipients.
"It's a huge win for Chaffey and this area," said John Husing, chief economist for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. "We should support adult workforce education, and Chaffey is doing that."
Each college/university in the IERTC will receive a share of the funds awarded through the TAACCCT grant, which will be used to create the STEM Education Business Incubator (SEBI) Center to focus on advanced manufacturing applications.
"This is fantastic news for our region," said Chaffey President Henry Shannon during an event at the Jessie Turner Center in Fontana on Oct. 14. "This will provide training for jobs in very needed areas."
Rod Hoover, manager of human resources at California Steel, said he is pleased that the company has been partnering with Chaffey for the past 10 years.
"Getting this grant has been a dream of ours for the past six years," Hoover said.
The IERTC is a regionally coordinated, large-scale effort to develop the highly trained/highly technical workforce necessary to advance industry and the economy of the region.
Educational programs and certificates will be aligned with the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM), Institute for Manufacturing including ACT, NIMS, MSSC, NCCER, AWS and OSHA. IERTC plans to implement an advanced integrated career pathway approach that includes multiple entry and exit points with various certificates and degrees.
"This will be a great step forward for the industry," said Elmano Alves, a Chaffey professor.
The TAACCCT grant was referenced as a participating program in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). Although the Obama Administration designated the USC Center for Economic Development proposal, the Inland Empire is positioning itself to align with the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California. The IMCP provides designations priority access to 11 federal agencies and programs with $1.3 billion in economic development assistance.
Dr. Imran Angelov Farooq, director of the UC Riverside Center for Economic Development and Innovation, served as the principal investigator for the Inland Empire IMCP proposal and represented the four-year university participation in the Chaffey-led TAACCCT grant.
"It is essential that we continue to collaborate as a region to maximize our competitiveness for federal and state funding opportunities," Farooq said.