WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca (right) signs the Academic Consortium agreement at the American Center for Mobility as (from left) Governor Rick Snyder, Oakland University VP David Stone and Wayne County Community College District Provost James Robinson look on. | Courtesy photo


By BRENDAN PREBO, AVP, Marketing & Communications

Washtenaw Community College’s involvement at the American Center for Mobility (ACM) in Ypsilanti Township continues to expand.

WCC  joined 14 Michigan colleges and universities to form the Academic Consortium with the ACM on Oct. 6. Representatives of the institutions signed the agreement at Willow Run Airport with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in attendance.

Snyder praised WCC’s mobility technician training program at the event and said the college is looking ahead to the high-demand jobs of the future.

“One day mobility technicians will be needed at every dealership in the country to repair and maintain mobility equipment that will be on every vehicle,” said Snyder.

The Academic Consortium agreement establishes a structure and a process for Michigan colleges and universities to work with the ACM on education, workforce training, outreach programs, collaborative research, and joint funding opportunities among other cooperative activities.

“The ACM Academic Consortium will provide Washtenaw Community College with strategic access to major automotive, telecommunications and IT companies working to transform the transportation industry through the development of connected and automated vehicle technologies,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca.

Creating Training

Prior to its involvement with the Academic Consortium, WCC announced it would open an office at Willow Run Airport to develop workforce training and experiential learning opportunities at ACM for new and incumbent workers and students.

Existing relationships with major players in the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) field have given WCC a head start on identifying related entry-level employment training.

As the credit side of the college continues to develop and define certificate and degree programs it will offer within the college’s Advanced Transportation Center,  its Workforce Development department is preparing to launch its new Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Field Technician training program starting with the Winter 2018 semester.

Workforce Development is the arm of the college that aligns custom training with the needs of industry.

The ITS Field Technician training program is for individuals who want to work hands-on with emerging highway technologies, smart roads, smart signs, and intelligent traffic controllers.

Participants who complete the Fiber Optic Association-approved training program will be able to diagnose, troubleshoot and repair a variety of ITS equipment and network infrastructure.

The ITS Field Technician and similar training programs are what Advanced Transportation Director Al Lecz calls “our niche.”

He says WCC has the expertise and equipment necessary to train technicians to work on complicated “smart” infrastructure/cities, sensor functions, and software and network configurations that are essential to CAV vehicles and throughout the engineered infrastructure.

WCC also plans to offer several other workforce training classes through its ACM office, including Fiber Optic Installer, Fiber Optic Technician and Mobility Analyst Training.

The Fiber Optic Installer classes will train entry-level workers to find and install buried fiber optic lines that create the network for CAV communications. Fiber Optic Technicians will diagnose, troubleshoot and repair the fiber optic infrastructure.

Mobility Analyst Training is intended for individuals with strong computer skills, knowledge of business office systems and networking who will work on big data analytics.

More Partnerships

WCC is also moving forward on its consortium of community colleges at the ACM. It has partnered with Macomb Community College and Wayne County Community College District to develop training focused on vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-everything.

Participation in the ACM is the next step in mobility workforce development for WCC, which opened its Advanced Transportation Center in 2015.

The ATC was established to meet the needs of transportation and manufacturing professionals to stay compliant, up-to-date and innovative on rapidly developing advanced manufacturing, intelligent transportation systems, and automotive technology.

Visit sites.wccnet.edu/atc to learn more about how WCC is preparing the current and future workforce for the advanced technology industry.