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Wayne County CC To Lead Advanced Manufacturing Initiative

DETROIT -- A national collaborative aimed at providing workers with new skills to the emerging advanced manufacturing industry has selected Wayne County Community College District to lead the effort in Michigan.

The Right Skills Now – Precision Manufacturing Initiative is led by the Manufacturing Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Institute for Metalworking Skills and American College Testing; and was an outgrowth of President Barack Obama's June 2011 Job Commission Report on the need to encourage innovation and advanced manufacturing in the United States.

Modeled on curriculum approved by NAM for fast-tracked skills certification, the WCCCD program is a comprehensive effort to leverage the city's inherent strength in the manufacturing sector, marked by the "Make in Detroit" initiative.

"The Right Skills Now program leverages the know-how and experience of our existing manufacturing base, while providing a much-needed bridge to advanced skills manufacturers now require," said WCCCD Chancellor Curtis L. Ivery. "We are proud to lead this initiative in Michigan and believe that it will help us further our mission – to provide access to a better life for our students, and for the communities that we serve."

The fast-track program will train 32 local residents in certified precision manufacturing technologies in an NAM endorsed career pathway to meet the urgent demand for skilled talent in southeast Michigan. As advanced manufacturing has grown, a skills gap has prevented experienced workers from filling some 600,000 industry jobs in advanced sectors, according to a recent study by the Manufacturing Institute. The program aims to bridge the gap and create pathways to high-paying manufacturing jobs for Michigan workers.

The WCCCD Right Skills Now consortium includes the Michigan Manufacturing Association, Detroit Workforce Development Department, and private industry partners.  Critical support for the program has been provided through the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Detroit project team and SC2 member, Sridhar Kota, Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington.

"As soon as I learned about WCCCD's curriculum and expertise in advanced manufacturing skills training, I saw an opportunity," said Dr. Kota.

Right Skills Now was first piloted in Minnesota at Dunwoody College of Technology and South Central Community College.  WCCCD is the state's largest urban community college, and will be the first Michigan community college to launch the Right Skills Now initiative. The program will kick off in June at the WCCCD Eastern Campus' Advanced Manufacturing Center.

"This fast-track program provides an opportunity for students to gain nationally portable, industry-recognized certifications in CNC machining skills," said Shawna Forbes, WCCCD vice chancellor for the School of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, "and a viable career pathway that aligns education, certification, and employment."

The Right Skills Now program will join with the national 'Joining Forces' initiative through a commitment to include veterans in the first and successive cohorts. The 'Joining Forces' initiative is designed to help returning service members obtain education, training and self-sustaining employment.  As a designated Veteran Friendly College, WCCCD recognizes the skills and training that veterans bring and the importance of supporting our servicemen and servicewomen.

"WCCCD has served and continues to be a great resource to train both veterans and non-veterans alike in the CNC machining skills that are in high demand in metro Detroit," Kota said.

Michigan Manufacturing Association member Kris Munroe, director of human resources at Roush Manufacturing, stated, "We're pleased that Wayne County Community College District is beginning the Right Skills Now Initiative.  Roush is looking for CNC machinists and this program will increase the pool of available talent."

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