In late 1983, the Sears Foundation awarded the American Association of Community Colleges Center for Workforce and Economic Development (the Center) a grant to examine the scope of college/employer partnerships, produce a report on its findings, and organize a blue-ribbon national advisory committee to guide activities. After the successful planning period, the foundation provided support for a four-year operational project shaped to help “develop lasting partnership(s) that will greatly enhance the economy and productivity of the nation.”
Throughout the course of the effort, the Center distributed $1,200,000 in mini-grants and planning grants to 289 colleges. Through local and regional matching funds, project income, and in-kind college contributions, the project generated more than $15,000,000. The Center provided technical assistance, guidance and leadership to the funded programs. Six major publications were produced through the project. Each centered on aspects of community college participation in human resource and economic development and each was disseminated nationally.