CREDENTIAL PROGRAMS GIVE STUDENTS A COMPETITIVE EDGE At Metropolitan Community College, we are committed to developing relevant and responsive education and training that helps students gain a competitive advantage when they seek to enter or move up in the workforce. Two areas of study within MCC’s trades department—Auto Collision Technology and Precision Machine Technology—recently earned nationally recognized credentials that will help give successful students a leg up on the competition. Although focused on two different career pathways, these credentials have something in common: earning them requires significant investment of time and effort on behalf of the institution, faculty and industry advisory members, while also raising the rigor and quality standards of training for students. The process can take years. MCC faculty has worked with industry advisory committee members to review, revise and rewrite curriculum to meet standards. They completed numerous applications and participated in instructor trainings. “We’ve worked on the I-CAR credentialing process for more than three years,” said Pat McKibbin, Auto Collision lead instructor. “But if you ask us and our industry partners, we will all agree that having this training program is a win-win for our students and area employers.”
Students who successfully complete the Auto Collision program and pass a final examination will earn their I-CAR Pro Level I credential—a credential that significantly boosts their chances of being hired and earning a competitive wage. “When a student applies for a job with this certification, it tells employers that they are ready to enter the workforce as a productive collision repair professional,” said McKibbin. “Our industry partners have told us, he or she would be given a job over someone without the credential.” It’s a similar story for MCC’s Precision Machine Technology program, certified by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, the only developer of national standards for the metalworking industry. To earn the various NIMS credentials available, students must successfully complete both a skills demonstration and an online examination. Building a part, for example, requires 100 percent precision of the dimensions, as evaluated by industry representatives. While students who complete MCC’s program are eligible for NIMS credentials, the exams are not required and cost extra, at about $70 for each certification. To help offset these credential fees, John Banark, Precision Machine Technology lead instructor, worked
with the MCC Foundation to apply for and successfully receive grant funding from the Gene Haas Foundation and the MCCF Inspiring Innovation Mini-Grant program. “No matter where a student goes after earning their degree and NIMS credentials, their skills will be recognized by employers across the country,” said Banark. “It’s important that students see the value in putting in the extra work now—it will pay off in the long run.” These certification efforts are part of a larger strategy to align industry-specific training to meet the technical education needs identified by MCC’s Industry Advisory Boards. In Automotive Technology, MCC was the first college in Nebraska to offer NC3 certifications and currently have career certificates available in Automotive Technician Assistant and Automotive Under-Vehicle Specialist. In addition, a certificate of achievement is available in Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair Technician. As certificate programs, they are intended to lead directly to employment in the high demand industry of automotive technology. For more information about educational cost, median loan debt and other important information related to this program, please visit our website at mccneb.edu/autocollision-technology.