WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao has announced the launch of a third competition for President Bush’s Community-Based Job Training Grants.

Public and tribal community and technical colleges, community college districts, state community college systems and One-Stop Career Centers will compete for awards totaling about $125 million.

“America’s community and technical colleges play a vital role in preparing workers for successful careers,” Chao said. “This new emphasis on incorporating regional economic and workforce strategies will make the skills training and education provided even more effective in helping workers succeed.”

During the past two years, about $250 million has been awarded to 142 community colleges in 45 states to promote the development of the U.S. workforce’s full potential.

This year, another element has been added to the competition: integration with regional economic and talent development strategies. Applicants are expected to develop and implement plans in partnership with business and industry, the workforce development system and educational institutions from K-12 schools to universities.

“This competition will position community colleges as places where economic and talent development efforts pay larger dividends for regions across the country,” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco. “Selected community colleges will not only prepare lifelong learners for the 21st century economy but also become more integrally involved in regional economic development.”

A competitive solicitation for grant applications appears in the Federal Register and can be accessed online through www.doleta.gov/sga/sga.cfm.

The competition remains open through Oct. 10 with awards to follow.

For more information on other Department of Labor employment and training programs, visit www.doleta.gov.