Obama Administration ‘Strengthening the American Workforce’ with $500 Million ‘Investment’ in Schools

By Penny Starr | September 19, 2012 | 4:57 PM EDT

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced on Wednesday that her department and the Department of Education are giving out $500 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country as part of a $2 billion, four-year plan to expand training programs.

"These federal grants are part of the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to strengthening American businesses by strengthening the American workforce,” Solis said in announcing the latest round of federal funding at the site of one beneficiary, St. Petersburg College.

The Florida college will receive $15 million for “developing programs focused on advanced manufacturing,” the press release announcing the grants states.

“This strategic investment will enhance ties among community colleges, universities, employers and other local partners while ensuring that students have access to the skills and resources they need to compete for high-wage, high-skill careers,” Solis said.

The grants are characterized as “complements” to President Barack Obama’s goal “to ensure that every American has at least one year of postsecondary education” and that the United States has that highest number of college graduates by 2020.

In all, 297 schools will receive grants as individual applicants or as members of a consortium. The grants include 27 awards to community college and university consortia totaling $359,237,048 and 27 awards to individual institutions totaling $78,262,952.

“Educational institutions will use these funds to create affordable training programs that meet industry needs, invest in staff and educational resources, and provide access to free, digital learning materials,” the announcement states, adding that all materials developed through the grants will be available to the public through a special licensing arrangement.

A full list of the schools and universities that are receiving money and the projects being funded are available on the DOE website.

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