Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today congratulated Pima County on a $1.3 million grant from the federal Department of Labor (DOL) to finance the Southern Arizona Technical Career Pathways Project.
The Southern Arizona Technical Career Pathways Project brings together a coalition of businesses, community colleges, local governments and industry networks to enhance opportunities for the region’s workforce. By increasing access to higher education, the project aims to expand the pipeline of high-tech talent in the region.
Funds will be made available from the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants, a DOL grant program totaling $160 million established to provide technical and career training for American workers in sectors that take advantage of the H1-B visa program. The H1-B visa program enables employers to hire highly skilled foreign nationals for positions that cannot be filled by qualified Americans. This grant makes sure that American workers are receiving the necessary training to fulfill that demand.
“Initiatives like this award are the steps we must take to ensure that Southern Arizona’s work force has access to the education it needs, and that employers in Southern Arizona have a sufficient pool of qualified Americans to fill the growing demand for high-skilled jobs”, said Grijalva today. “The H1-B visa program is an important tool used by American companies to utilize the talent the world has to offer, but it is critical that we make investments to ensure American workers are developing the skills they need to stay competitive in the job market”, he continued.
Grant money for the Southern Arizona Technical Career Pathways will fund training for 200 incumbent workers, who will all move up into H1-B level occupations. These positions have an average wage $35 per hour at placement.
The grant will be administered by Pima County One Stop, but have an impact in Pima, Cochise, Santa Cruz and Yuma Counties.