Department of Labor awards grants to community collegesOfficials from the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that it will award nearly $500 million in 2011 under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Grant Program, Asheville Citizen-Times reports.

The grant will help support the development of two-year degree programs that use innovative strategies to educate their students.

For instance, funds will help the schools expand opportunities to working professionals by offering online, technology-enabled learning and reducing the time needed to complete a degree.

“These grants will help colleges create programs that make it possible for workers to come back to school and acquire skills and industry-recognized credentials needed to compete for good jobs in growing industries.” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, told the news source.

Furthermore, the funding will allow schools to expand their capacity to create new programs and improve those that are already in place to meet the needs of their local businesses. Each state will receive $2.5 million in awards per year.

A recent report from the Pew Research Center reveals that community colleges enroll nearly 44 percent of all U.S. undergraduates, which represents a total of 6 million students.

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