FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Staff Contact:

Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations

 

DCC WORKS TO PUT DAN RIVER REGION WORKFORCE ON NATIONAL STAGE

 

SVCAM

DANVILLE, VA, June 17, 2013 - There is a shortage of skilled manufacturing workers in America - a serious shortage. In a 2012 report, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers identified 600,000 jobs that are currently unfilled. By 2015, that number is expected to reach three (3) million.

That same shortage is being felt throughout the Dan River Region as well as the Commonwealth of Virginia, with many manufacturers falling anywhere from 10 to 20 percent behind on projected workforce hiring goals. The problem is that not enough students are graduating with the training in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics that today’s manufacturers are seeking.

In response, Danville Community College is launching a bold new initiative that will double the size of its current advanced manufacturing training program. It’s called the Southern Virginia Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing (SVCAM), and it includes partnerships with industry, K-12 school systems, and local economic developers.

Addressing nearly all of DCC’s current manufacturing training programs, SVCAM is expected to make DCC’s program one of the largest in the Commonwealth for training advanced manufacturing workers. The initiative actually started well over a year ago as the college began efforts to double the size of its Precision Machining Technology program. That move was in response to requests from local businesses -- as well as industries from outside the DCC service region, such as Babcock & Wilcox in Lynchburg as well as Rolls-Royce in Prince George County.

The year-long effort culminated in the Virginia General Assembly approving a $3.7 million request in the governor’s budget to support this expansion. The funds are being used to renovate the Charles Hawkins Engineering and Industrial Technology building on DCC’s main campus to expand the machining program’s laboratory and classroom space from 6,500 to over 20,000 square feet. The funds are also being used to construct a new technology facility behind the Hawkins building to house the Welding, Printing, and Building Trades programs. These programs currently occupy the space into which the machining labs are expanding.

The expansion will result in twice as many students graduating from DCC’s Precision Machining Technology program. The College has hired two new machining instructors, and last fall accepted 48 new students into its Precision Machining Technology program – twice as many as it has traditionally accepted.

In addition, partnerships have been formed with local K-12 school systems to implement a 33-credit-hour dual enrollment program in the local high school systems. Dual enrollment allows students to enroll in for-credit college courses at their schools while dually attending regular high school classes. The program enables juniors and seniors from these local high schools to enroll in an Advanced Manufacturing Certificate program, with four career options: Precision Machining Technology, Electrical/Electronics, Industrial Maintenance, and Welding.

Key to the SVCAM effort is DCC’s participation in the Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (M-SAMC). Funded through a $15 million U.S. Department of Labor grant, M-SAMC’s mission is to establish a model for program transformation that is applicable across the entire manufacturing spectrum (but with the first phase targeting automotive, process-based, and aerospace/precision manufacturing). The program is tasked with creating a new set of national standards for training employees in advanced manufacturing.

M-SAMC industry partners include such automotive and aerospace manufacturing giants as the Ford Motor Company, Kelly Aviation, General Motors, BMW, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Nissan North America, and the Chrysler Group, as well as a separate manufacturing consortium of more than 20 additional leading manufacturers. Thirteen colleges (including DCC) from 10 states comprise the educational sector of this consortium.

With its participation in this consortium, DCC has a unique opportunity to promote the Dan River Region on the national manufacturing stage. Through its participation on M-SAMC, DCC is helping shape the national standards by which manufacturing employees are trained. Being one of the 13 colleges to set this standardized curricula gives DCC the chance to be among the first community colleges in the nation to meet these new standards – which means that graduates of DCC’s SVCAM program will be among the first employees in the nation to have been trained to these new national standards.

DCC President Carlyle Ramsey notes that participating in a national demonstration initiative such as M-SAMC will not only help DCC students, but local economic development efforts as well.

“When prospective industries visit our region, they will be looking at the potential to hire a workforce that has received the most up-to-date training standards as any program in our nation,” Ramsey says. “This should be a draw for all manufacturing companies. When they look for the best location for their next plant, they will certainly be looking for an area that can provide a workforce trained in the standards they set through M-SAMC. However, we must also provide advanced skilled employees for our existing employers. Our graduates will be part of that current and future workforce.”

 

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