The RISE curriculum development grants were designed to create prototypes for career pathways that would serve to spur further pathway development by technical colleges and to engage local stakeholders in resolving WTCS policy obstacles. Eight curriculum chunking or bridge grants totaling $240,000 were made in summer 2008. These grants involved collaboration between local technical colleges and their workforce development partners. Since then, local technical colleges have expanded their effort to deliver bridge and career pathway curricula through other resources.
Eight industry engagement demonstration grants totaling $250,000 were awarded in 2009. Awards were made to regional teams comprised of workforce development boards, technical colleges and industry and community representatives. The grants focused on healthcare, manufacturing, energy, and information technology sectors. The intent was to jump start the formation of regional industry partnerships for career pathway purposes and develop tools and protocols for engaging business partners that accelerate industry engagement efforts in other sectors or regions of the state. Grant recipients were invited to consider applying for Industry Partnership convening or training grants as a next step in their progress.
In spring of 2009, a $5.89 million Strategic Workforce Initiative was announced, which helped launch the Industry Partnership grant funding. In addition to the Industry Partnership grants, $300,000 of this funding was targeted towards education for low skilled adults who lacked a high school diploma. Through Skills Jump Start funding they can complete their basic education, and at the same time, receive job training at technical colleges for employment in high-demand sectors, such as manufacturing and health care. Under these grants, workforce development boards and technical colleges are working together to deliver bridge programs to eligible adults, which started February 2010 and runs through January 2011.