Jan. 28, 2004
The Catholic University of America, along with the D.C. Workforce Investment Council, has been awarded a $2.9 million grant that will prepare adult workers for high-demand jobs through bachelor’s and master’s programs in information technology and engineering. CUA was one of only 12 awardees nationwide to receive the grant and the only one in the Washington, D.C., area, according to a recent U.S. Department of Labor announcement.
The three-year labor department grant will enable 300 students to meet the educational requirements for Washington, D.C., area jobs often held by foreign workers. Because of the shortage of U.S. workers with the required skills for certain information technology positions, such as systems analysis and software engineering, many employers hire foreigners to fill the jobs.
CUA submitted the successful grant proposal in partnership with the investment council, a group of public and private organizations that advises Mayor Anthony A. Williams on ways to improve the city’s workforce.
Catholic University was selected to receive the grant, in part, because of its success in meeting the goals of a similar $1.5 million labor department grant that CUA administered in 2003, says Sara Thompson, dean of the university’s Metropolitan College, which offers education programs for working adults.
“The Department of Labor was very pleased with the outcome of our previous grant,” says Thompson. “With that one, we exceeded our enrollment and academic goals. Securing the new grant speaks to the high-quality education offered at Metropolitan College and our ability to meet the needs of adult learners in this community.”
The grant will fund tuition and administrative costs for 300 students enrolled in Metropolitan College’s Technology Engineering Program. The students will earn certificates and bachelor’s degrees through Metropolitan College and master’s degrees through the School of Engineering.
CUA expects to enroll about 100 students by the fall. Fifteen students will take courses to earn a certificate, 40 to earn bachelor’s degrees, and 45 to earn master’s degrees. Another 200 students will join the program over the next three years, taking non-credit continuing education courses, either at CUA or at their workplace. Metropolitan College will provide the curriculum and professors to teach both the on-campus and workplace classes.
Scott Battle, program chair at Metropolitan College and lead author of the grant proposal, says that “with the labor department’s support, Catholic University is now positioned to play a central role in delivering a workforce development program of great importance to D.C.’s technology industry and its current and prospective employees.”
“It’s a win-win situation,” he adds. “Adult students will receive help in attaining their academic and career goals, and area organizations will benefit from the increased number of qualified technology workers.”
CUA’s Metropolitan College offers weekend and evening classes for adults who need a flexible course schedule. Offerings are concentrated in such fields as business, computer information systems and social science. The college also provides continuing education and certificate programs, as well as customized educational programs, for business organizations and their employees.
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