PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) launched an initiative in 2009 to provide tuition waivers for laid-off workers to retrain for high-demand occupations. Today, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, announced that CCAC’s Career Transition Center for Dislocated Workers is one of 173 government programs selected for its newly-created Bright Ideas program. In its inaugural year, Bright Ideas is designed to recognize and share creative government initiatives around the country with interested public sector, nonprofit and academic communities.
Bright Ideas seeks to complement the long-standing Innovations in American Government Awards Program by providing government agencies with a collection of new solutions that can be considered and adopted today. This year’s cohort of Bright Ideas was chosen by a team of expert evaluators made up of academics, practitioners and former public servants. Selected from a pool of nearly 600 applicants including smaller-scale pilots, 2010 Bright Ideas address a range of pressing issues including poverty reduction, environmental conservation and emergency management.
“We are honored to be included among these distinguished awardees,” said Alex Johnson, PhD, CCAC president. “CCAC has always sought to meet the needs of our community, and the Career Transition Center for Dislocated Workers is a natural outgrowth of our mission to provide affordable access to quality education.”
CCAC’s Career Transition Center for Dislocated Workers has enrolled more than 325 individuals since its launch in the spring of 2009. For spring 2011, the center will provide tuition waivers in eight certificate programs for Allegheny County residents laid off within the past year due to the economic downturn. Eligible programs include Accounting, Administrative Computer Specialist, Automotive Technology, Basic Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD), Business Management, Early Education & Child Development, Information Technology Support and Nurse Aide Training. For more information, visit www.ccac.edu and click the link for “Career Transition Center for Dislocated Workers,” or search keyword “dislocated workers.”
“For over 20 years we have been honoring the country’s most creative public sector initiatives through our Innovations in American Government Awards Program,” said Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center. “The creation of Bright Ideas was a natural next step to shed light on an even greater number of noteworthy programs and practices across our nation and to encourage practitioners to make these ideas work in their own backyards.”
CCAC and the other 2010 Bright Ideas will be showcased on the Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online marketplace of ideas and examples of government innovation for policymakers and practitioners. The inaugural group of Bright Ideas will serve as a cornerstone of a new online community where innovative ideas are proposed, shared, and disseminated. The Ash Center also envisions that these Bright Ideas have the potential to become future Innovations in American Government winners.
Bright Ideas is an initiative of the Ash Center’s Innovations in Government Program, which spotlights exemplary models of government innovation and advances efforts to address the nation’s most pressing public concerns. Throughout its history, the program has generated a wealth of research based on award-winning government innovations and the study of how innovation occurs.
The Ash Center will be accepting applications and recognizing more Bright Ideas on a rolling basis throughout the year.
The Community College of Allegheny County is the largest institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.
About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. Three major programs support our mission: the Program on Democratic Governance; the Innovations in Government Program; and the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu.