DOL Grant to Award $500 million in FY11

Michigan Tech Director of Rail Transportation visits DCTC

On Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011, Pasi Lautala, Ph.D., an assistant research professor and director of the Rail Transportation program at Michigan Technological University, visited the DCTC main campus in Rosemount, Minn. Dr. Lautala met with Mike Opp, DCTC dean of transportation and technical careers, and Larry Raddatz to discuss higher education partnerships centered on an upcoming Department of Labor grant called the Community College and Career Training Program.

Larry Raddatz, the director of railroad, manufacturing and technical training in the DCTC Customized Training division, reported that he, Dean Opp and Dr. Lautala brainstormed to compile a list of ways DCTC and Michigan Tech could best utilize the DOL grant funds.

“We would target programs with green transportation potential,” Raddatz said. “Our focus would be on railroad thanks to our Railroad Conductor Technology program, but many other programs would benefit from the grant, including Heavy Construction Equipment Technology, Heavy Duty Truck Technology, GM ASEP, Automotive Technician, Civil Engineering Technology and Welding Technology.”

Raddatz pointed out that Dr. Lautala serves as faculty in the Michigan Tech College of Engineering, specifically civil and environmental engineering related to rail, including track design and public transit planning. On a related note, Tim Gillette, an instructor in the college’s CET program is a graduate of the Michigan Tech Civil Engineering program.

“We are also working with Dennis Neilson, assistant director specialist-outreach at Michigan State University,” Raddatz said. “MSU has a Rail Management program. The University of Wisconsin-Superior, which has a Transportation and Logistics Management program, is in the mix as well.” Raddatz went on to report that Bill Roberts, the CT director of transportation at DCTC, is looking at adding a logistics course or courses as a customized training option.

The DCTC RRCT program would benefit in a number of ways from DOL grant funds. The curriculum could be enlarged to include positive train control. Often equipped with GPS navigation to monitor train movements, PTC systems work in both dark territory, sections of track not controlled by signals, and signaled territory. A comprehensive course covering railroad signal systems could be developed and delivered online.

Other DCTC programs could begin offering specialized add-on certificates related to railroad. For example, HCET could deliver a certificate for technicians trained to service locomotives. Welding Tech could offer an add-on certificate for welders trained to work in a rail environment.

Existing RRCT track could be expanded to intersect the college’s 2.8-mile decision driving track, presenting important learning opportunities to both RRCT students and drivers practicing safe motor vehicle operation.

Key points of the Trade Adjustment Assistance CCCT Program (courtesy of the DOL):

  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) amended the Trade Act to authorize the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT). The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act signed by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2010, included $2 billion over four years to fund this program.
  • The grants will be administered by the Department of Labor (DOL), DOL is working closely with the Department of Education to implement the TAACCCT. This program complements President Obama’s broader agenda for helping every American have at least one year of postsecondary education, and will help reach his goal of America having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
  • Over the next year, DOL will award approximately $500 million through this grant program. By statute, the program is designed to ensure that every state, through its eligible institutions of higher education, will receive at least $2.5 million in grant awards. “State” includes the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

For more information about the grant, read the Q&A section in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of the Community College Journal. The piece, titled “A New Deal for Dislocated Workers,” features an interview with Jane Oates, the DOL’s assistant secretary for employment and training.

In the same issue of the Community College Journal, the DCTC RRCT program is profiled in an article titled “Getting There” by Bob Violino. Larry Raddatz is quoted extensively in the “By Rail” portion of the article.

Raddatz is also featured in “Larry Raddatz Receives Workforce Development Award” on YouBlue.

For more information about DCTC Customized Training, contact:
  • William Roberts | CT Director of Transportation | 651-423-8223
  • Richard Hawkins | CT Director of Corporate Transportation | 651-423-8765
  • Patrick McQuillan | CT Director of Trade & Industry | 651-423-8318
  • Larry Raddatz | CT Director of Railroad, Manufacturing and Technical Training | 651-423-8276
  • Tom Glader | CT Director of Computer Technology | 651-688-1183
  • Bradd Strelow | CT Director of Technology/Innovation | 651-688-1187
  • Scott Ashby | CT Director of Sales | 651-688-1182

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