For many manufacturers across Minnesota the inability to find technically trained employees is a significant barrier to growth. At the same time, there are many individuals and families who could benefit from the mid-level technology jobs that manufacturing provides.
South Central College is working to narrow the “skills gap” and provide an ample supply of work-ready technicians to meet the needs of our state’s manufacturers. This effort is bolstered by the college’s involvement in President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP). SCC’s President Dr. Annette Parker serves on the national AMP Steering Committee and co-chairs the AMP “Workforce” work group. Dean of Global Outreach and Strategic Partnerships Marsha Danielson, Dean of Workforce Education and Training Barb Embacher and others from the college are also deeply involved in this important national initiative.
South Central College will launch a “Minnesota Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Pilot” to help accelerate the training needed and fill jobs across the state. The pilot led by SCC includes employer-driven workforce initiatives based on the AMP Workforce work group’s four goals:
- Apprenticeship Models that will establish competency standards and serve as an instructional manual for all manufacturers and educational institutions to build programs of their own.
- National Credentialing System that incorporates nationally recognized certificates that build upon one another (known as “stackable credentials”), which offers learners/employees the flexibility to obtain each certificate at a time that is right for them and the opportunity to transfer these credentials to different employers.
- Advanced Manufacturing Education to increase career pathways and “dual credit” opportunities across education (K-12 Schools, Community & Technical Colleges and Universities).
- Bridging Modules for Veterans to provide the opportunity for them to gain industry credit for prior military experience and supplement this background by pursuing private sector manufacturing certifications and apprenticeships, with Department of Labor and GI Bill funding and support.
The pilot begins with South Central College and K-12 institutions working with manufacturers in Southern Minnesota. The pilot will then expand to include manufacturers statewide partnering with MnSCU institutions and Manufacturing Centers of Excellence that offer programs in advanced manufacturing, which is in perfect alignment with MnSCU’s “Charting the Future” strategy that encourages colleges and universities to work together to leverage their strengths. This pilot will then become a national model for other regions and states. What starts in Minnesota, could have a ripple effect that impacts the entire country.