Cuyahoga Community College, also known as Tri-C, is increasing workers’ access to skills training throughout Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing sector by bringing a mobile classroom directly to the workplace.
The mobile training unit was created by Tri-C’s Manufacturing Technology Center of Excellence to help employees upgrade their skills to keep up with changing technology, as well as strengthen the pipeline for the manufacturing needs of the region.
In the last two years, the mobile training unit has provided demand-driven training at client sites, as well as visited secondary and postsecondary institutions, community events, and fairs to promote manufacturing and train the next generation of workers. Training programs include welding techniques, 3D printing, and programmable logic control, among others.
The New York Times recently profiled the mobile training unit’s visit to a plumbing product manufacturer and distributor called Oatey, where workers such as Ruben Santos, a technical maintenance specialist, were able to learn and practice new skills.
“I would love to see this all over the country for workers like me,” said Santos. “I have been here for 30 years, and the mobile training is really giving me the opportunity to grow and stay on the job longer than I might have been able to do without it.”
Tri-C is only one of a growing number of community colleges that are creating similar labs to meet potential students where they are and fill a need in their communities for skilled workers.
Darlene Miller, executive director of the National Council for Workforce Education, an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges, told The New York Times, “It’s exciting because as technology keeps changing with automation and artificial intelligence, workers need to keep being reskilled and retooled, and, for adults who are bound by family and life obligations, having access with a mobile lab to learn is critical.”
At a Glance
Member Institution: Cuyahoga Community College
Initiative: The Manufacturing Technology Center of Excellence’s mobile training unit
Goal: Address the skills gap in the manufacturing industry in Northeast Ohio by providing skills training at client sites and strengthening the pipeline to manufacturing jobs.
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