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Walmart Foundation Grant Helps Community Colleges Train Displaced Workers

August 20, 2009

St. Louis Community College is one of eight community colleges in the country selected to participate in the Walmart Brighter Futures project. This national demonstration project is designed to assist community colleges in meeting the increasing need for training and services for dislocated workers.

The Walmart Brighter Futures Project is funded through a $3.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to the League for Innovation in the Community College to work with a select group of community colleges to develop programs and services to put displaced workers back to work. The resulting programs and services will then serve as a model for other community colleges facing the same need to increase their offerings as a result of the economic downturn.

In addition to STLCC, other community colleges receiving funding are: Community colleges selected to participate in the project include:

  • Central Piedmont Community College (N.C.)
  • Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio)
  • Lane Community College (Ore.)
  • Miami Dade College (Fla.)
  • Moraine Valley Community College (Ill.)
  • Seattle Community College District (Wash.)
  • Sinclair Community College (Ohio)

In announcing the grants, Gerardo E. de los Santos, president and CEO of the League for Innovation, expressed confidence that the Walmart Brighter Futures project will have a profound and positive impact beyond the eight funded areas. “This project will provide an opportunity for these community colleges to try new approaches that will expand the capacity of community colleges to serve the needs of displaced workers across the country,” he said.

Each selected community college will receive up to $336,500 to provide training and services for displaced workers that will help put them back to work. The training will focus on jobs requiring 21st century skills in an effort to provide a promising career future for the workers. In addition to specific job training, displaced workers will receive career counseling and job acquisition skills such as job search, résumé writing, and interviewing techniques. Participants will also receive funds for tuition, books and other expenses associated with continuing their education.

“We are excited to be selected to participate in this project,” said Zelema Harris, STLCC chancellor. “We appreciate the generosity of the Walmart Foundation and the leadership of the League for Innovation in making this work possible. We look forward to working with our national partners and our local business and community partners to help make a difference across the country by putting people back to work and improving the condition of working families in our communities.”

Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation, said: “Now more than ever, we are looking for ways to provide opportunities for those who are out of work and facing tough times. Our recent grant to the league will support people across the country in their efforts to get through this difficult time as well as help assure that workers have the necessary skills for today’s jobs.”

The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. The league hosts conferences and institutes, develops Web resources, conducts research, produces publications, provides services, and leads projects and initiatives with more than 900 member colleges, 160 corporate partners, and a host of other government and nonprofit agencies in a continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Walmart – and its domestic and international foundations – gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.