Clark University has received a $5 million award from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide training to support jobs in renewable energy, transportation, and broadband infrastructure.
It’s the third Department of Labor grant Clark has received in the last five years to fund workforce development that prepares people for thriving careers in a range of technical and emerging industries. The three grants represent $27 million in total funding.
The grant was awarded through the Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program, which is overseen by the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s investments in infrastructure initiatives. Clark is one of only two educational institutions in the Northeast to receive such a grant.
Clark University’s School of Professional Studies will administer the Tech Build grant to expand the reach of its highly successful Tech Quest Apprenticeship program from eight to 19 states throughout the nation.
Tech Build will train an additional 400 individuals in critical infrastructure industries and career pathways through occupational skills training, pre-apprenticeships, and competitive registered apprenticeships on a national scale. This work will be done through an innovative network of partners that includes workforce development boards and other educational and industry partners.
The program will serve unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers, of which 50% will be members of an underserved population or underrepresented community, such as those living in rural economies, women, people of color, justice-impacted individuals, veterans, and persons with disabilities.
“At a time when the country is still recovering from a historic pandemic and unprecedented demands on our labor force, we are extremely grateful that Clark University can continue the work of upskilling and reskilling people in our economy,” said John G. LaBrie, dean and associate provost for graduate studies and international programs and dean of the School of Professional Studies. “This work is both gratifying and central to our mission to educate people for a better life and a brighter future.” LaBrie also serves as the principal investigator for the four-year project.
Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to President Biden, said, “This new, historic funding will help us put Americans to work as we grow our clean-energy economy, expand access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet, and ensure that our infrastructure is resilient for decades to come.”
In 2019, Clark received a $12 million grant to provide information technology training nationwide through Tech Quest Apprenticeship. Clark worked with Public Consulting Group (PCG) and a national consortium of workforce development boards, higher education institutions, and industry professionals to provide over 5,000 pre-apprenticeships and 1,200 IT and IT-related apprenticeships to unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers. The average salary for those who participated in the Tech Quest apprenticeships is $33/hour.
Clark received another $10 million grant in 2021 to deepen and support the work begun with Tech Quest. This second project, entitled Tech Boost, has enabled over 900 primarily unemployed and underemployed workers — especially workers displaced due to COVID-19 — to be trained or retrained in IT and IT-related industry career pathways.
According to project manager Dug Jones, Clark surpassed its goals on both projects, providing 1,000 more individuals than anticipated with pre-apprenticeships through Tech Quest and training an additional 200 people through TechBoost.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to continue the good work and strong outcomes from earlier projects into Tech Build and look forward to experiencing even more success with many of the same consortium partners we worked with five years ago,” Jones said.
Clark’s newest DOL grant, Tech Build, enables Clark to scale the work started in the two previous grants into new critical infrastructure fields.
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded nearly $94 million to train and prepare a diverse workforce for good jobs created by the “Investing In America” agenda.