CCRI creates video course to promote careers in advanced manufacturing

THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND has produced an hourlong course on advanced manufacturing for the online video platform LinkedIn Learning. / COURTESY COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND

WARWICK – The Community College of Rhode Island is teaming with LinkedIn Learning, a massive open online course website offering videos taught by industry experts, to promote careers in advanced manufacturing.

CCRI joined the popular video platform with its participation in the Skilled Trades: Manufacturing Careers course, taught by engineer and former lecturer Kipp Bradford. The hourlong course features testimonials from CCRI manufacturing students and insight from faculty on the importance of manufacturing and how to pursue a career in the industry.

“Working with LinkedIn Learning, the leader in personalized, data-driven learning experiences, is a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase our advanced-manufacturing programs and drive students toward pursuing a career in manufacturing,” said Julian L. Alssid, CCRI vice president of workforce partnership. “This is great promotional and educational material for recruits that are considering becoming a student in the program, or for recruiting faculty and employer partners for the program.”

CCRI’s Division of Workforce Partnerships offers certificates in various fields, from health care to education. Developed as a partnership with Polaris MEP, the Fast Track to CNC Manufacturing program launched in 2017. With funding from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training’s Real Jobs Rhode Island initiative, the 20-week boot camp teaches the fundamentals of manufacturing, safety and blueprint reading while helping students secure employment as CNC machinists or operators.

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As part of the program, the college partnered with several Rhode Island-based manufacturing companies, including Eaton Corp., Groov-Pin, Guill Tool & Engineering Co., and Goodwin-Bradley Pattern Co., many of whom have hired students out of CCRI. Of the 47 students who’ve completed at least one phase of the program, 43 are being placed, currently working in the field, or are continuing their education, which is a 91% success rate, according to CCRI.

“Manufacturing jobs are in high demand because there is an aging-out process,” said CCRI program coordinator Jim Thomson. “We’ve spoken with some of the companies we partner with and they’ve told us 60% of their employees will be gone in the next five years. That’s a lot of jobs.

“A lot of machinists are in their 50s and 60s, and if you go on those shop floors, sometimes you don’t see anyone under 50 there, but there’s a little bit of a stigma about manufacturing. A lot of people think it’s dirty, loud and not too inviting.”

Many modern manufacturing jobs feature the use of cutting-edge technology, such as 3D printing, and the skills acquired are transferrable throughout several industries, including aerospace, medical or agriculture, CCRI said.

“Manufacturing is a very impactful part of the workforce,” Alssid said. “Manufacturing accounts for 11% of the U.S. economy and 9% of the workforce. What’s really interesting is the impact of manufacturing, the ripple-effect of manufacturing firms. It’s a third of the U.S. economy. A third of the people in the U.S. are either working in manufacturing or directly related businesses.”

While LinkedIn Learning is a premium subscription-based service, all LinkedIn members have free access to the manufacturing course. The tutorial offers a brief introduction to manufacturing, a look at available jobs in the field, how-to videos on assembling software and an inside look at CCRI’s manufacturing and trades workforce program with commentary from Alssid, Thomson and instructor Dan Gill.