Community colleges receive grant

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Thanks to a U.S. Department of Labor grant, the State Board for Community College and Occupational Education (SBCCOE) is $515,322 richer.

The grant is aimed at creating jobs by establishing the Alliance for an E-Commerce Workforce that will allow for the development of new training opportunities for workers seeking high-skill jobs in electronic commerce. The money will be used to develop procedures to determine employers' needs, develop planning for e-commerce skills, implement pilot projects and publicize the shortage of technical and entry-level skilled workers.

Doug Hawk, media manager of the Colorado Community College and Educational System (CCCOES), said the grant will help each of the colleges in the system develop programming for e-commerce training. Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) is one of the 14 colleges regulated by SBCCOE. E-commerce programming includes equipment, instruction, courses and any other role vital to a subject.

"By fall, almost all our colleges will have e-business/e-commerce instruction," Hawk said. "E-commerce is the wave of the future and it is important that it is addressed in schools."

CNCC will not directly see the funds, but will see the results of it. The grant will help build coalitions with the CCCOES and Colorado work-related organizations such as the Colorado Department of Labor and the Colorado Workforce Development Center. With these organizations, CCCOES will be able to train to what employers and professionals want.

AT CNCC, the importance of e-commerce has not been overlooked, CNCC-Craig Vice-President Dean Hollenbeck said.

CNCC has already received some funds from SBCCOE to assist with e-commerce training and officials hope this grant will increase their ability to train for e-commerce.

CNCC's Small Business Development Center recognizes the importance of e-commerce and CNCC is making sure software and systems are up to date, according to Hollenbeck.

"We have been putting in new equipment relating to e-commerce," Hollenbeck said. "We recognize the value of e-commerce and are very aggressive about that type of equipment."

Because of this grant, students should be better prepared for the work place.

"This is a timely grant," SBCCOE Chairman Elwood Gillis said after receiving the grant. "These funds will help the community colleges of Colorado further leverage their position as the state's leader in preparing individuals for the world of e-commerce.

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