Hills of the North Umpqua

New grant to fund job programs at SOWI


UCC has been chosen for a grant to fund job training through the Southern Oregon Wine Institute.

The three-year grant is from the Walmart Foundation and the American Association of Community College’s Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) initiative.  

UCC will receive $180,000 for its Grow Our Own: Job Readiness for the Southern Oregon Wine Industry project, which seeks to provide mid-level training to unemployed workers in the region.

The Grow Our Own project will recruit new students to SOWI’s viticulture and enology training programs, provide students in the programs with additional support, and help students find jobs after they graduate.

“The vision for the project is to fill the regional wine industry with a skilled workforce, reduce the unemployment rate of our region, and strengthen the long-term capability of employing a well-trained workforce,” explained Susan Taylor, UCC’s grant director.

The Walmart Foundation with the American Association of Community Colleges also named UCC a mentor college for the JRWA initiative. This means UCC will take a leadership role in the program and provide ongoing counsel and support to the 13 new JRWA grant recipients.

“Being named a mentor college is powerful recognition for the economic development work we’ve been doing at UCC,” added Taylor.

In 2008, UCC received its first grant from the Walmart Foundation and AACC to develop hybrid instruction and the wine incubator program at SOWI. The success of those programs, Taylor said, contributed to UCC’s designation as a mentor college.