“We cannot expect business to expand or relocate to Rhode Island if there are no skilled and educated workers here,” Congressman Jim Langevin said yesterday at the Community College of Rhode Island. “CCRI can provide them because they are at the heart of job training.”
Langevin’s comments were well timed and echoed by other members of the state congressional delegation. The college recently received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration in association with the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT). The money will fund the Accelerated Pathways in Advanced Manufacturing (APAM) program.
On Monday CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale held a press conference to announce the new program along side Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressmen Langevin and David Cicilline as well as Governor Lincoln Chafee and Chairwomen of the Board of Education Eva-Marie Mancuso.
Dr. Greg Lamontagne, Vice President for Academic Affairs who is spearheading APAM, said, “This program really focuses on dislocated adult workers to give them opportunities to reenter the work force quickly with a new skill set.”
With the RI Department of Labor and Training estimating a growth in advanced manufacturing jobs increasing by 10,000 positions between 2010 and 2020 the skills gap needs to be addressed. CCRI is rising to the challenge by trying to supply RI with the educated and skilled workers that businesses are yearning for.
“CCRI is the catalyst for change concerning the gap between jobs available and the people with the proper skills. The skills needed exceed those needed 20, 10 or even just a few years ago. This will develop a training program that’s adequate to the state’s economic needs,” Reed said.
Cicilline said the program would benefit RI’s economy as a whole. “CCRI is answering the challenge posed by the skills gap. This will help directly lead people into skilled jobs.”
Mancuso said, “We are doing it all here in Rhode Island. This grant brings us full circle” She mentioned the work on the airport and surrounding transportation systems, but reminded all that there needs to be more than just sufficient access to an area. “Unless you have a skilled and educated work force people won’t move here. We need to make sure we have the services to provide people with the opportunity for affordable education that leads them to a job.”
Through the collaboration of CCRI, the Governor’s Workforce Board, the Office of Higher Education, the RI Manufacturing Association and Polaris MEP the APAM program will offer adult students a “learn and earn” style of education that quickly and efficiently leads them to a degree within a schedule that fits their circumstances.
A student will be helped in making their career and educational decisions by a career counselor and be enrolled in a “Poised for Success” course that explains the skills needed for 21st century industries.
The “Manufacturing Boot Camp” DiPasquale described would be attended by interested and enrolled students to provide the foundation of conceptual industry and a brief look into the four certificate programs CCRI will now offer through grant funding. The four programs are CNC Manufacturing, 3-D Modeling, Advanced Manufacturing Management and Advanced Manufacturing Design. There will be re-imagined liberal arts courses that are pertinent to the changing manufacturing industry such as change within the climate and global economy. The program would conclude with an Engineering Systems Technology A.S. Degree. The program is expected to train 300 to 400 students. The hope is that in the future the program can be expanded on.
Lamontagne said, “We need to look at all sectors of industry and innovate and expand our program according to all sectors.”
“We are responding to a need to train workers for the manufacturing industry’s modern incarnation…we are working to meet the industry need, “ DiPasquale said.
For more information on the program contact Dr. Greg Lamontagne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 825-2142.