College Will Lead Regional Effort to Expand Training in Computer Integrated Machining
(Winston-Salem, NC) – Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem has been awarded a $825,000 Golden LEAF Foundation grant to lead a regional consortium of community colleges to expand the National Association of Manufacturers’ Endorsed Skills Certification Program in Computer Integrated Machining.
The regional partnership includes Forsyth Tech, the consortium leader, as well as Guilford Tech, Randolph and Rockingham Community Colleges and the Davie Campus of Davidson County Community College.
The grant will enable the five colleges to coordinate training for jobs in computer-controlled machining; promote adoption of industry-recognized, third-party credentials; and build career pathways to attract high school students and others into advanced manufacturing. The grant includes money for new equipment at each college, instructional support and supplies, credentialing costs, and professional development.
David M. Powell, president and CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, applauded Forsyth Tech’s leadership in proposing a coordinated, regional approach to building a workforce trained in both the technical competencies and “soft” skills that manufacturers need to thrive.
“A skilled workforce is a key factor in the economic development strategy for the Piedmont Triad, and a strong manufacturing base is fundamental to economic success,” he said. “The coordinated, systematic,
sustainable approach to mid-skills training envisioned will make the region even more competitive in recruiting new investment and landing new jobs.”
Forsyth Tech’s award is one of nine totaling $5,723,130 that the Golden LEAF Board of Directors has awarded through its Mid-Skills Workforce Training Initiative to help 14 community colleges deliver hands-on training in skill areas that are in demand by North Carolina companies. These projects will serve 25 counties across the state and target more than 3,580 employment opportunities identified by industry over a two- to three-year period.
“The Mid-Skills Initiative will help address several issues with manufacturing employment in the state,” William Clarke, Golden LEAF board chair, said in a news release. “The grants awarded will provide citizens from tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural communities with access to skills training for high wage jobs, connect the state’s industries with the skilled workers they need, and upgrade the capacity of our training institutions.”
A key element of Forsyth Tech’s grant will be to work with regional employers to promote the adoption of credentials that reflect the demonstrated competencies that manufacturers seek in their hiring process. Forsyth Tech is a leader in this area, having been one of four national pilots for a skills certification system endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The College is also part of NAM’s Manufacturers Endorsed Education Alliance.
“Acquiring these credentials will increase workforce opportunities for students and improve the hiring process for manufacturers across our region,” said Dr. Gary M. Green, Forsyth Tech’s president. “With our community college partners, we recognize the important role we all have in providing employers with an educated work force.”
Golden LEAF funds will cover the cost of credentials testing for students who complete courses in computer-numeric controlled (CNC) machining. Credentials demonstrate competencies in specific areas, such as measurement, materials and safety; job planning, benchwork and safety; milling; turning; and programming setup and operations. These credentials reflect some of the competencies that regional employers are seeking when hiring.
Project activities will include promoting the value of third party certifications to manufacturers, aligning curricula with third party certifications, promoting community college programs as a gateway to manufacturing careers, offering a fast-track training option that manufacturers say will address a regional shortage of workers with machining skills; enhancing the certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in place at community colleges; and offering computer-integrated machining to more high school students in the Piedmont Triad.
In addition to the five community colleges, key partners in the 2½-year project include public school systems, workforce agencies, businesses and the Piedmont Triad Partnership.
ABOUT FORSYTH TECH:
Forsyth Technical Community College offers associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in more than 200 programs of study. Forsyth Tech’s Economic & Workforce Development programs promote personal and professional development with non-credit courses and seminars and provide customized training for business and industry. Forsyth Tech serves more than 50,000 students with approximately 1,150 full and part-time faculty.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN LEAF FOUNDATION:
The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,152 grants worth over $508 million since its inception. To learn more about applying for a grant, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call (888) 684-8404.