As part of a $175 million Department of Labor grant, Washtenaw Community College will receive $300,000 for apprenticeship training in advanced manufacturing.
The apprenticeship announcement was part of President Barack Obama’s visit to Southeast Michigan on September 9th to tout what his administration calls the “single largest investment in apprenticeships across the country.”
WCC was one of 46 public and private sector partners that will benefit from the federal grants. “Hands-on apprenticeships, where workers earn and learn at the same time, are a proven path to good, secure middle-class jobs,” the White House said in a statement.
“We are very pleased to be a part of this significant Department of Labor grant,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca. “Our college is well-positioned to work with our business partners to create pathways that lead to a skilled workforce in the growing area of advanced manufacturing.”
Grant highlights include: WCC faculty and the Dean of Apprenticeships to work with area employers in the development of new registered apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing;
A pre-apprenticeship twocourse sequence for incoming freshmen needing additional academic skill development, such as reading and math;
A focus on adult students, including veterans;
The development of a oneyear dual-enrollment program for local high school students;
Expansion of daytime class offerings to facilitate participation by Washtenaw Technical Middle College students and dual enrolled students.
WCC has already aligned itself with area business partners to offer apprenticeships. These include: UBE Machinery, Thetford Corporation, Milan Metal Systems, LLC, AMI-Manchester, Zero Hour Parts, Industrial Tectonics, and Utilities Instrumentation Service.
There will be a total of 90 apprenticeships over the fiveyear life of the grant. There will be some tuition assistance in addition to existing financial aid programs. The grant also covers a part-time apprentice counselor position.
“Washtenaw Community College has a reputation for excellent manufacturing education,” said Marilyn Donham, dean of WCC’s Apprenticeships and Skilled Trades programs. “Apprenticeship programs have a proven record of creating highly skilled, loyal employees and, in turn, great-paying jobs. This grant will allow WCC to continue to provide local businesses with the highest quality training and the most highly qualified workers available.”
WCC’s grant will boost the college’s first-of-its-kind Advanced Transportation Center (ATC), which will provide training for the rapidly growing industries of intelligent transportation systems, advanced manufacturing and automotive transportation servicing.
According to ATC Director Al Lecz, the apprenticeship opportunity will help interested men and women enter high demand and high technology advanced manufacturing careers and jobs employers are searching to fill.
“The Advanced Transportation Center programs will be able to offer a portfolio of manufacturing processes tailored to a student’s interest and aptitude, including Computer Numerical Control programming and machining, high technology welding, and additive manufacturing — a 3D printing process which allows materials such as polymers and metals to be layered on top of each other and bonded together to make the final product,” said Lecz.
“I am excited for both the students and employers that are able to take advantage of this great opportunity.”
Regionally, the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) — of which WCC is a member — received $4 million to train apprentices in information technology and advanced manufacturing.