Foundation for California Community Colleges is Awarded $21.5 Million Through the American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge

Project will help place qualified workers into high-quality jobs in forestry and fire safety through partnerships with higher education, industry, and community.

SACRAMENTO, CA—August 4, 2022—Today, the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) was announced as a recipient of one of 32 grants awarded as part of the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and administered by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration. FoundationCCC received $21.5 million to support its “California Resilient Careers in Forestry” proposal, which will coordinate and expand forestry and fire-safety training programs in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade regions of northeastern California.

Funding will support a four-year project to help scale a system to place qualified workers into high-quality jobs in the forestry sector, responding to urgent needs to build economic and climate resilience in California’s forested, rural communities. Work will be conducted in partnership with five community colleges (Butte College, Feather River College, Lake Tahoe Community College, Reedley College, and Shasta College), California State University Chico, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Sierra Business Council. This group has proven experience delivering effective workforce training programs in partnership with industry and community.

The emerging forestry and fire safety sector has the potential to grow into a $39 billion industry. Yet there are currently projected shortages of thousands of workers for relevant well-paying jobs with benefits, including but not limited to fire and forestry crew leads, conservation scientists, and U.S. Forest Service crew members. By working to recruit, support, and train local communities in partnership with multiple Hispanic-serving institutions, Indigenous-led partners, and other community-based organizations, the project will expand the industry’s talent pool while simultaneously diversifying the field.

“We are honored to be selected as one of the Good Jobs Challenge award recipients alongside a talented group of partners serving rural communities, including several of our California community colleges,” said Keetha Mills, President of the Foundation for California Community Colleges. “This work is critical to help Californians access good jobs, especially as we help our state respond to the urgent needs of climate change and support economic growth in regions greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters.”

“A trained workforce is essential to ensuring that the United States can compete and succeed in the 21st century,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Commerce Department is able to make once-in-a-generation investments in industry-driven, and locally-led workforce systems that will create high-quality jobs and accelerate regional economic growth, especially for underserved communities.”

The California Resilient Careers in Forestry project was selected from a pool of over 500 applicants and is one of two grants awarded in California. The 32 grantees awarded are focused on diversifying the workforce in their respective industries, and will serve and support historically underrepresented populations to help communities recover with equity.

To learn more about the Good Jobs Challenge, please see the U.S Economic Development Administration press release. The full California Resilient Careers in Forestry project narrative can also be found here. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has also provided a statement in support of this work.

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About the Foundation for California Community Colleges
The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and Chancellor’s Office. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community Colleges system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works to benefit all California Community College students, colleges, college foundations, and the system as a whole by accelerating paths to economic and social mobility, strengthening communities, and reducing barriers to opportunities for all Californians. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. For more information, visit www.foundationccc.org.

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