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SC, NJ, Others Announce Funding for Industry-Specific Workforce Development

April 21, 2016

To build 21st century workforces in key S&T sectors, several new public-private initiatives have been launched in South Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, and Montana. These initiatives are intended to better align the educational training of students with the needs of industries that each respective state has identified as a key industry cluster. Target industries include advanced manufacturing, aerospace, biotechnology, chemistry and plastics, and cyber security.

South Carolina

Earlier this month, in partnership with the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, the state announced the launch of the South Carolina Future Makers (SC Future Makers) workforce initiative. The initiative’s mission is to increase the skilled workforce pipeline entering advanced manufacturing and technical-related careers. Via a web-based portal, individuals can search for careers in the state’s 10 key industry clusters. The portal also provides information on apprenticeships, technical colleges, and four-year colleges to expose and connect South Carolina’s next generation to all of the state’s educational and career-development opportunities.

In partnership with school districts from across the state, SC Future Makers will provide students, parents, and educators with information of the opportunities, careers, and proper education pathways to earn skills necessary for a technical career in manufacturing. The effort also will attempt to address growing workforce challenges facing manufacturers and related fields in recruiting skilled and talented associates. Read the announcement…

New Jersey

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie announced the creation of the $2.7 million Talent Development Centers Program to promote workforce development partnerships between industry and the state’s institutions of higher education. Spearheaded by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the funding will establish centers of excellence to provide workforce training and skill development focused on specific, key industries in New Jersey including:

  • Advanced Manufacturing at Camden County College;
  • Health Care at Rutgers University; and,
  • Transportation, Logistics and Distribution at Union County College.


The intent of the program is for these centers to serve as anchors for expanded high‐quality, employer‐driven partnerships and further build the capacity of the state’s higher education institutions to provide education and training aligned with the needs of the state’s key industries. Each of the institutions of higher education was awarded $900,000. To receive this funding, each institution had to demonstrate subject matter expertise in their selected industry sector and the ability to connect with New Jersey employers, industry associations, Talent Networks and other education institutions. Read the announcement…


At a recent event, the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership announced $3.5 million in available funding for grants to educate and prepare students for high-demand jobs. In the second round of the initiative, the state will attempt to align educational opportunities with economic needs through grants to public post-secondary educational institutions, industry trade associations, public school districts or individual schools. Each awardee will work with local/state businesses to develop workforce programs that provide the necessary competencies and skills for students to launch a career in a targeted state industry. Previous awards were made to support public-private workforce development efforts in aerospace, manufacturing, and cyber security. Read the announcement…


In Montana, Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) received over $400,000 to encourage and prepare high school students for a career in biotechnology. Via a grant from the National Science Foundation, the TeaM SCoRE Biotechnology: Teachers in Montana Strengthening the Continuity of Rural Education in Biotechnology initiative is intended to bolster the school-to-workforce pipeline in the field of biotechnology. The three-year project is intended to train and equip 24 life sciences teachers from high schools throughout Northwest Montana to deliver biotechnology curriculum in their classrooms via DNA barcoding experiments. Teachers and students will have access to lab equipment purchased with the grant money. Read the announcement…





Montana, New Jersey, South Carolina, Utahworkforce, manufacturing