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Indian River State College Awarded National Grant To Expand Manufacturing Job Training

Institutional Advancement Department

Indian River State College

Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida has been awarded a national grant in the amount of $589,401 for the development and expansion of innovative training programs that lead to jobs in manufacturing, science, technology, engineering and math. The four-year federal grant is part of the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Initiative (TAACCCT). IRSC will share in $15 million received by the Florida TRADE consortium of 11 Florida state and community colleges. Grant funds will be used to develop business and education partnerships and create training programs to prepare students for industry certifications, internships, and high-skills, high-wage jobs. The manufacturing industry remains one of the highest paying industries in the state, and is projected to generate about 4,000 additional jobs by 2015. Over 80% of 1,100 manufacturing firms surveyed by the Manufacturing Institute indicate a shortage of skilled production workers.

"Through this initiative, IRSC will establish partnerships with businesses throughout the Research Coast to implement new and enhanced training programs that respond directly to the increasing need for skilled employees," said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC President. "This will ensure that there is a close connection between the skills employers are looking for and the skills that students bring to the job, with the goal of strengthening the manufacturing industry in our state."

During the first year of the initiative, IRSC will organize an Advisory Council of local business leaders to assess community needs. Learning modules will be developed to target specific industries and increase online-learning opportunities. Students will be able to proceed from OSHA safety programs to general operation of machinery to sophisticated new technologies, including programmable logic controllers, optics, lasers, robotics and biomedical electronics. IRSC will also work closely with area high schools to prepare students for industry certifications.

Through the Florida TRADE consortium, newly developed training programs and materials will be shared. All programs will adhere to the standards of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and will be sequenced for participants to first earn a nationally recognized work credential, followed by industry specific training, culminating in an internship leading to a job. Partners include the Manufacturers Association of Florida, which will provide internship coordinators, regional workforce boards, and business partners, who will play a role in recruitment and job placement.

Manufacturing certification programs will be developed or expanded, including the Certified Production Technician from the Manufacturers Skills Standards Council (MSSC), as well as certifications in quality practices and measurement, manufacturing processes, and maintenance skills. Training will be offered in rigging and lifting, pneumatics and hydraulics, welding, power plant machines and components, metallurgical properties and dynamics and mechanical maintenance.

Nationally recognized certifications in the production process will include Six Sigma Green Belt Certification, Six Sigma Black Belt Certification, Six Sigma Master Black Belt Certification, and training in project management and business analysis.

The announcement of $500 million in TAACCCT grants to colleges and universities around the country was made by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on September 19.