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Sierra College Awarded $300K Grant to Prepare Advanced Manufacturing Workforce

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The California Community College Chancellor’s Office Division of Workforce & Economic Development awarded $300,000 to Sierra College to align Advanced Manufacturing education pathways with the needs of regional manufacturers, provide employee training and inspire students’ interest in manufacturing careers.

Through a competitive selection process, Sierra College was one of only eight colleges statewide awarded $300,000 by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Division of Workforce & Economic Development to focus on the Advanced Manufacturing sector. The grant supports the Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy (DWM) http://doingwhatmatters.cccco.edu/ framework of community colleges being essential catalysts to California’s economic recovery and jobs creation at the local, regional and state levels.

The Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) will administer this grant and collaborate with community colleges throughout the greater Sacramento region to fill gaps in workforce skills identified by manufacturers, provide customized employee training to small and medium size manufacturers, and motivate college and high school students to pursue careers in Advanced Manufacturing.

Businesses use Advanced Manufacturing methods that rely on innovation, automation and highly integrated, tightly controlled processes as well as cutting edge materials and capabilities to produce new and existing products efficiently so they can compete in the global market.

According to Sierra College President, Willy Duncan, the college has provided employee training and worked closely with employer advisory committees for over 20 years. “We are in the business of producing graduates who are ready for work and updating employees’ skills throughout their careers,” said Duncan. “This grant will make it possible to expand our collaboration with employers in the Advanced Manufacturing sector and work closely with nearby community colleges to meet the needs of manufacturers.”

Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Director, Sierra College CACT, will be the Deputy Sector Navigator for this grant project and manage implementation throughout the region that includes El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Yolo and Yuba counties. According to the State of California Employment Development Department labor market information, as of 2011, there were approximately 85,000 people employed in goods producing establishments with an annual payroll of $4.9 billion in this region.

“Globalization and rapid technology advances have reshaped jobs so technicians must have more advanced skills to operate and maintain computerized machinery, and perform complex manufacturing tasks,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “In addition to technical skills, employers are asking for employees who have critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation skills.”

Sierra College will coordinate with regional community colleges to strengthen curriculum and meet the training needs of advanced manufacturing employers. The grant project will also encourage colleges to focus on certificates valued by businesses and provide professional development for faculty to enhance their programs to correspond with industry requirements.

In addition, employee training in advanced manufacturing methods such as process improvement will be offered in coordination with a network of college, employer and workforce development organizations.

The project will also work with high schools to better prepare students to enter Community College Career Technical Education programs, such as welding and mechatronics, leading to Advanced Manufacturing careers.

“There are excellent opportunities for high-wage jobs in Advanced Manufacturing in our region,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “To keep current, employees require on-going training. In addition, both high school and college students must be introduced to additive manufacturing, digital design, high-tech welding and other cutting-edge technologies so that they can bring this expertise to local businesses. Through this grant, colleges and industry can work together to enhance the local economy.”

About Sierra College CACT

Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) is focused on Advanced Manufacturing and is funded through the Workforce and Economic Development program of the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.  Since 1992, the Sierra College CACT has provided customized training for organizations, manufacturers and technology companies throughout Northern California. Additional information is available at www.sierracollegetraining.com or contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge at 916-660-7801 or cpepper-kittredge@sierracollege.edu.

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