by Alana J. Mauger
Montgomery County Community College will use its portion of grant funds from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program to educate and train displaced workers in high-demand occupations.
Funding for this initiative is part a three-year $20 million federal TAACCCT grant awarded to Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“This grant is transformative in that it supports Pennsylvania’s community colleges in collectively responding to the Commonwealth’s workforce development needs with new programs and support services that are aligned with the needs of our workforce system,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College. “The grant will help community colleges rapidly produce high-skilled workers for employment in industry sectors that will define the economy of our state and our nation for years to come.”
According to the U.S Department of Labor, 57 percent of workers in trade-related fields hold only a high school diploma or its equivalent, and close to 60 percent of Pennsylvania’s trade workers are between 40 and 60 years of age. Employers cite a critical shortage of qualified workers to fill jobs in the growing industries of advanced manufacturing, energy and health care technology.
While qualifying students may enroll in most of the College’s career and certificate programs through this initiative, a portion of its $1,198,165 grant will be used to develop and deliver six new programs in three targeted industries.
In the rapidly growing industry of energy distribution, production and conservation, individuals will be able to prepare for careers as solar photovoltaic technicians and BPI analysts.
According to the 2010 National Solar Jobs Census, solar power is one of six green energy industries that has the most growth potential. Scheduled to begin in October 2012, the solar photovoltaic technician program will prepare graduates for national certification through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Graduates can also articulate their credential into the College’s Technical Studies associate degree program.
Graduates of the BPI analyst program will qualify for national benchmark certification as energy analysts. The program will begin in February 2012 and will be offered at the Central Campus in Blue Bell.
In advanced manufacturing, the College will introduce programs that lead to industry competencies and certifications for industrial maintenance technicians, CNC machine operators and logistics technicians. All three programs are scheduled to launch in September 2012 and will be offered in conjunction with community industry partners.
As a result of the health care industry’s transition to electronic medial records, the Pennsylvania Center for Health Careers reports a growing need for trained health information technicians. Set to launch in March 2012 at the Central Campus in Blue Bell, the College’s new health information technician program will train students in both health care and information technology skills and will prepare them for industry recognized IT certifications. Graduates can also articulate their credential into the College’s Computer Science associate degree program.
In each of the six new programs, online, self-paced basic skills education will be available to students, as needed, that will complement their specific skills training. The grant also funds a full-time career coach, who will provide one-on-one case management, advising and job development for students in the program. Positions for full-time program manager and part-time project administrator are also funded by the grant.
For more information about the College’s workforce development and training programs, visit www.mc3.edu/WorkforceDevelopment.