CCRI advanced manufacturing program lands $2.5M grant
COMMUNITY COLLEGE of Rhode Island President Ray DiPasquale said the school's Accelerated Pathways in Advanced Manufacturing program will help meet industry demand in the state. The school announced Monday that the program had received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
WARWICK – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has awarded a $2.5 million grant for advanced manufacturing initiatives to the Community College of Rhode Island.
With the R.I. Department of Labor and Training projecting that advanced manufacturing will add 10,000 new jobs between 2010 and 2020, CCRI’s new Accelerated Pathways in Advanced Manufacturing program provides a pathway to a variety of educational credentials for this type of work, said CCRI President Ray DiPasquale.
“We are responding to a need to train workers for the manufacturing industry’s modern incarnation, computer numerical controlled operations, in which components are designed and machines are controlled via computers rather than manual operations,” said DiPasquale. “Demand for workers in this field is expected to be high over the next several years, and we are working to meet the industry need.”
At a press conference Monday morning at CCRI’s Knight campus, U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Reps. James R. Langevin and David N. Cicilline, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and Eva-Marie Mancuso, chairwoman of the R.I. Board of Education, said the program is important to to the future of manufacturing in Rhode Island.
Wages associated with new hires, which could include machinists, front-line production supervisors and operating workers, could pay median wages projected at more than $20 per hour, according to the DLT.
Under the program, a student will determine a pathway with the assistance of a career counselor, undergo evaluation for possible prior-learning credit, and enroll in a course that reviews soft skills. Then, following a “manufacturing boot camp,” the student could take one or more of four CCRI certificate programs and also consider pursuing an associate’s degree in engineering systems technology.
A baccalaureate degree at a four-year school could follow, and with each advance in educational credentials, pay would increase.
The grant funds that have created the program were made possible through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Act, which provides community colleges with funds to expand delivery of training programs that can be completed in two years or less time and are suited for workers eligible under the TAA for Workers program.
The program was designed with particular attention to adult learners, said CCRI’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Greg Lamontagne.
“We are mindful that adult learners have many demands on their time – work and family obligations chief among them – and that they want to complete their education to move into their field of choice quickly,” said Lamontagne. “We have structured this program to build in strategies for their success at every level.”
Collaborative discussions with statewide organizations led to creation of the program. These included talks with the Governor’s Workforce Board, the Department of Labor and Training, the Office of Higher Education, Rhode Island Manufacturing Association and Polaris MEP, formerly known as Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension.