FUNDED Articles

YCC - When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

Oct 15

Written by: Grants Office, LLC
Wednesday, October 15, 2014  RssIcon

You may want to sit down for this one, folks. I've got some bad news. But if you'll stick with me, you'll see that the old  adage  is, in this case, true.

It looks like the Youth CareerConnect program – a joint offering by the Department of Labor and the Department of Education – was a onetime deal. Yes, that's right, that means there won't be a 2015 competition come January.

Now, this isn't all that surprising given that the $107 million used to fund the 24 Youth CareerConnect awards in 2014 came from the revenue amassed over several years of H-1B Visa fees. Once a bucket is depleted, it takes time to fill it back up again. But I, like many, was holding out hope that the federal government would find some other source to continue funding this excellent program in the meantime - particularly since President Obama has stated that college and career readiness of America's youth is one of this administration's top priorities!

Luckily, for those of you who were anticipating a 2015 competition of the Youth CareerConnect program, there is hope!

In the current version of the 2015 Federal Budget Proposal, both the Department of Labor and the Department of Education have proposed allocations to fund grants for youth college and career readiness partnership projects. Of particular interest are the Department of Labor's "American Apprenticeship Grant Program," and the Department of Education's "High School Redesign Grant Program" and "College Pathways and Accelerated Learning Grant Program." The following preliminary descriptions have been made available through each department's website regarding these opportunities:

The American Apprenticeship Grant Program

Department of Labor, $100 million in funding projected

The Department of Labor is making existing H-1B funds available for American Apprenticeship Grants to reward partnerships that help more workers participate in apprenticeships. This competition will help more Americans access this proven path to employment and the middle class: 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs and the average starting wage for apprenticeship graduates is over $50,000. The new American Apprenticeship Grants competition – which will be launched in the fall – will focus on partnerships between employers, labor organizations, training providers, community colleges, local and state governments, the workforce system, non-profits and faith-based organizations that -


·       Launch apprenticeship models in new, high-growth fields: Many fast-growing occupations and industries with open positions, such as in information technology, high-tech services, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing, have an opportunity to adopt and adapt apprenticeship programs, to meet their skilled workforce needs.


·       Align apprenticeships to pathways for further learning and career advancement: Apprenticeships that embed industry-recognized skills certifications or reward workplace learning with college credit provide an affordable educational pathway for those who need to earn while they learn, and apprenticeships linked to pre-apprenticeship programs can help more Americans access this training and get on an early pathway to a good career.


·       Scale apprenticeship models that work: Across the country, there are pockets of excellence in apprenticeship, but all too often these successful models are unknown in other regions or to other employers. These grants will build from strength and invest in innovations and strategies to scale apprenticeships – including to market the value of apprenticeships, make them more attractive to women and other Americans who have been underrepresented, increase the return on investment for workers and, or build national and regional partnerships to expand apprenticeships.





The High School Redesign Grant Program

Department of Education, $150 million in funding projected

The budget supports a new competition that will fund competitive grants to school districts and their partners to redesign high schools in innovative ways that better prepare students for college and career success so that all students graduate from high school with college credit and career-related experiences or competencies, obtained through project or problem-based learning, real-world challenges, and organized internships and mentorships. Grantees would work to -

·       align academic content and instructional practices more closely with postsecondary education and careers; 

·       personalize learning opportunities to support the educational needs and interests of individual students; 

·       provide academic and wrap-around support services for those students who need them; 

·       make available high-quality career and college exploration and counseling on options for students after high school graduation; 

·       offer multiple opportunities to earn postsecondary credit while still in high school; and 

·       strategically use learning time in more meaningful ways, such as through technology, a redesigned school day or calendar, or competency-based progressions.



The College Pathways and Accelerated Learning Grant Program

Department of Education, $74. million in funding projected

This program will increase graduation rates and college enrollment and success by providing college-level and other accelerated  courses and instruction in low-income middle schools and high schools, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses.



Please note, that while the specific details of these programs have yet to be announced, we at Grants Office believe that these three opportunities will serve as a fitting replacement to the Youth CareerConnect program. After all, no matter what name the grant goes by, college and career readiness remains a federal funding priority. So look ahead and begin strategizing which of these new opportunities will best fit your current initiative; because as the old saying goes, "when one door closes..." well, you know.

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