Jill Biden highlights online learning programs in Shelby - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Jill Biden highlights online learning programs in Shelby

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SHELBY, NC (WBTV) -

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the Vice President, and US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez will visit Cleveland Community College in Shelby on Monday.  

The two are in town to discuss the recent selection of Cleveland Community College to lead a $23 million grant to four schools focused on leveraging online learning to expand training opportunities for mission critical networking and technology jobs, according to a news release from the US Department of Labor. 

These days businesses are depending more and more on computers and trained staff is need to keep businesses up and running.  That's why it's called Mission Critical. 

"Any company," Cleveland Community College Administrator Shannon Kennedy said. "That can be a bank, a hospital, a data center that needs to run 24 hours a day 7 days a week. So we are talking technicians who have IT skills that have some maintenance skills that can keep systems up a running." 

Biden believes Community Colleges are the perfect place for the implementation of this program.

"I've seen what community colleges do to change lives," Biden said. "I've seen Veterans return to the classroom and complete their higher education and transition in careers." 

This grant is part of the third round of funding under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program, a multiyear, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand training for unemployed workers.  

In September, fifty-seven grants were announced supporting projects in every state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 

The grants will expand programs at more than 180 colleges in growing industries, such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, and encourage geographic and industry sector collaboration through the development of both statewide and multistate college consortia. 

"We need to pick up the pace," Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said. "And we have the paradox of unacceptably high unemployment but at the same time - we have so many employers who want to expand their business, but they lack the skilled work force that enable them to do that." 

During the visit, Dr. Biden and Secretary Perez met with students and toured facilities that are part of the Mission Critical Operations project, which develops a career pathway to address demand for a workforce able to anticipate, prevent, mitigate and respond to mission critical incidents. 

Cybersecurity, infrastructure maintenance, communications and emergency operations are all key focus points of the project.

A business panelist said someone with those skills could earn about $50,000 a year.

"They give workers," Biden said. "Just renewed confidence and hope."

Cleveland Community College will get $13 million of the $23 million grant.  The rest of the money will go to Wake Tech, UNC Charlotte, Nash Community College, and Moultrie Technical College to also implement Mission Critical Operation.

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