Northampton Community College, Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) and Luzerne County Community College received a $10 million grant known as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training Grant, or TAACCCT, this fall.
The Department of Labor offers this grant to community colleges across Pennsylvania. Had only one college received this grant, the winning college would have received a significantly less amount of money than if other colleges were involved.
“We decided there was strength in bringing in some of our partner community colleges and sharing with them a direction that made sense,” explained Dr. Mark Erickson, President of Northampton Community College.
The grant money will go towards creating new programs and improving preexisting healthcare, manufacturing and technology programs. Dr. Erickson, president since 2012, is hoping that this grant will help the college develop new programs, such as a welding program, and improve manufacturing businesses in the community. This grant gives students the ability to utilize new technologies in the medical and manufacturing fields in the growing digital age.
Erickson explains how the grant will ultimately affect colleges and communities within the state. The start of these new programs will lead to the creation of more jobs and the stimulation of the economy. LCCC and Luzerne County Community College are planning to do similar things with the grant money they receive.
“Each of the colleges has new programs it will put in place over the course of the next 18 months to meet a workforce need, then we will start bringing in students to those areas,” Erickson stated.
The school and community have high hopes that this grant will have the potential of helping low-income workers obtain middle-class jobs. The grant will create new learning opportunities at NCC, and will benefit local businesses in the future.