VOLT and MJC programs get $1 million grant. It could mean higher-paying jobs for area

 

Almost $1 million in federal grant funds will boost occupational training at the VOLT Institute and Modesto Junior College.

The Economic Development Administration approved the $980,750 grant for Opportunity Stanislaus, whose mission is improving economic vitality in Stanislaus County.

The grant money will purchase cutting-edge equipment used in training programs at the VOLT center and MJC.

The VOLT Institute on 13th Street trains young adults to work as maintenance mechanics in local industries and has a career accelerator program. The trade school was created through a partnership between Opportunity Stanislaus and the county Office of Education.

“The feedback we keep getting from employers is that our program is solid but that having equipment in the classroom similar to the machines students will be using in the field after graduation is essential to their success,” said David White, chief executive officer of Opportunity Stanislaus, in a news release.

MJC also is adding training equipment for its career technical education programs that partner with high schools.

Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, managed to get $1 million for the local training programs in last year’s state budget, and that money served as a match that’s required for the EDA grant. The Economic Development Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, urged the EDA to approve the application for building a skilled work force in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The agency’s competitive grant process has resulted in only one other grant award for the region: $140,000 awarded to Riverbank in 2010.

Warren Kirk, chief executive officer of Doctors Medical Center, said in the news release that the federal grant is “a great example of what our region can accomplish when we work together in support of economic development.”

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