(a) The statewide mission of the Workforce Development Initiative Program is to develop a strategy to strengthen the quality of the state's workforce by linking the existing post-secondary education capacity to the needs of business, industry and other employers. Available funding will be used to provide explicit incentives for partnerships between employers and community and technical colleges to develop comprehensive workforce development services. Funds will be granted on the basis of proposals developed according to criteria established by the council.
(b) The mission of any community and technical college accepting a workforce development initiative grant is to:
(1) Become client-focused and develop programs that meet documented employer needs;
(2) Involve and collaborate with employers in the development of programs;
(3) Develop customized training programs that provide for the changing needs of employers and that are offered at flexible times and locations to accommodate employer scheduling;
(4) Develop partnerships with other public and private providers, including small business development centers and vocational, technical and adult education centers, and, with business and labor, to fulfill the workforce development needs of the service area;
(5) Establish cooperative arrangements with the public school system for the seamless progression of students through programs of study that begin at the secondary level and conclude at the community and technical college level, particularly with respect to career and technical education certificates, associate of applied science and selected associate of science degree programs for students seeking immediate employment, individual entrepreneurship skills, occupational development, skill enhancement and career mobility; and
(6) Assist in the on-going assessment of the workforce development needs of the service area.