MERCED COLLEGE SERVING THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
anufacturing is a huge part of our region’s economic vitality, and Merced College intends to play a key role in providing workforce training programs to support our manufacturing industries.
Not only does Merced College offer programs for skills needed in the manufacturing industry, the college’s Workplace Learning Resource Center (WpLRC), has actively worked with manufacturing companies to meet their employee skills needs in our region. The WpLRC, located in the college’s Business Resource Center in downtown Merced, provides local employers and citizens of the greater Merced area with customized training, leadership, and workforce development programs. These programs are functional in context to the job and provide skill enhancement that employees can apply immediately to their job after training. The WpLRC has used statewide collaboration, shared resources, and funding to establish reputable and meaningful services to regional clients. Additionally, the WpLRC has developed and maintained strategic partnerships with businesses and industry leaders, and continues to provide training services in a variety of manufacturing workforce needs. In 2011, the WpLRC began to focus specifically on manufacturing industry needs, working with employers to identify skills gaps in their workforce while providing short-term trainings for incumbent workers. Currently, the “Now is the T.I.M.E” project (Training of Incumbent Manufacturing Employees) is being implemented through June 2014 to: • Meet employer demand for a skilled and prepared workforce; • Provide diverse career pathways for incumbent workers; and • Leverage resources to maximize project impact and value in the region. The T.I.M.E. project builds upon Merced College’s highly successful Training and Education to Advanced Manufacturing (T.E.A.M) and Manufacturers Are Keeping Employees (M.A.K.E) projects funded through 2010-2012 Responsive Training Fund grants. Through the grant activities, the Merced County Department of Workforce Investment and Merced College surveyed area employers to gauge their level of interest in receiving manufacturing industry training. The results were very positive with a high interest in welding, electrical, and programmable logic controller training, among others, for their incumbent workers. To date, the WpLRC has served
15 companies in the region and trained over 600 participants in these maintenance mechanic incumbent worker trainings. Continuing into the T.I.M.E. project, the WpLRC is working with employers to identify specific optimal performance requirements for each company and employee group. These requirements are used to develop success strategies or solutions that close the gap between current and desired performance outcomes. Simultaneously, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded the college’s Industrial Technology program with funding through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant to blend technical, scientific and business principles, and prepare versatile individuals for technological management, production supervision, and related leadership positions. Through the TAACCCT grant, Industrial Technology faculty and staff revamped their course offerings in diesel technology, industrial automation (mechatronics), and welding so that students complete their training faster and with better knowledge and preparation to enter the workforce and meet employer expectations of a skilled employee. The skills students learn in these programs are essential to landing highwage, high-demand careers in the manufacturing industry. And thanks to the TAACCCT grant, as well as Community College Chancellor’s Office grants and successful industry partnerships, Merced College Industrial Technology programs are equipped with the most up-to-date technology to keep up with changing trends in the manufacturing industry. Merced College is continuously looking at new ways to serve business and residents. We look forward to strengthening our partnerships with manufacturing employers to provide workforce training needs for entrylevel and incumbent workers. For information regarding the Welding Technology Program, call the Industrial Technology Division at (209) 384-6250 or schedule an appointment with an Industrial Technology counselor by calling the Guidance Center at (209) 384-6314. For information regarding manufacturing trainings offered through the Merced College Workplace Learning Resource Center, call (209) 384-6223.
PHOTO BY COREY STUBER