Clark State College will receive $3,503,325 from the H-1B One Workforce Grant Program as announced on January 19, 2021 by the U.S. Department of Labor. Funds will be used to invest in training for key sectors of the U.S. economy. Grant recipients will focus on upskilling the current workforce and training the workforce of the future for critical industries such as advanced manufacturing.
“Clark State College has made a name for itself as a leader in advanced manufacturing since receiving our $2.5 million TAACCCT grant in 2014,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “This grant builds upon that work through providing a new and futuristic pathway: laser manufacturing, as well as expanding access to individuals who wish to reskill by training for a good paying job. Clark State has and will be excellent stewards of this money and the workforce we plan to serve.”
Grantees will use innovative training strategies and training delivery methods to provide individuals in their communities with the skills necessary to succeed in middle- and high-skilled H-1B occupations. Training models will include a broad range of classroom, on-the-job training, customized training and incumbent worker training.
“With this grant we will be focusing on micro credentials that can be completed in as little as 8 weeks,” said Nora Hatem, associate professor of engineering technologies at Clark State. “Each of these credentials can be stacked with other micro credentials to complete a one-year certificate. Two one-year certificates can be stacked to complete our Manufacturing Engineering Technology Associates degree. Students can also continue their education in our BAS Manufacturing Technology Management degree.”
Hatem said the stackable options give students the ability to customize their training/education to benefit them in new and emerging technologies in advanced manufacturing.
“We are embedding national certifications at all levels of our program including NIMS certifications, MSSC certifications, SME Additive certifications and Autodesk certifications,” she said.
Clark State will also be purchasing equipment to support a new photonics or laser material processing certificate. This certificate will be embedded in Clark State’s current program to allow students to receive quick training around photonics or laser material processing.
“This certificate can be used towards our manufacturing engineering technology degree,” said Hatem. “We will be purchasing a ‘smart factory’ to train students in areas of mechatronics, industrial automation, and Industry 4.0. Students will have an opportunity to work with an automated work cell and hone their industrial technology skills in the following areas: sensors, product ID, network communications and security, maintenance and production, vision inspection, robotics, laser scanning, programmable logic control, and assembly.”
Clark State also plans to purchase a 3D metal printer for prototyping and product development and material testing.
Clark State is one of only 19 recipients of the grant which includes institutions of higher education, entities involved in administering the workforce investment system established under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, non-profit organizations and economic development organizations.
Dr. Aimee Belanger-Haas, dean of business and applied technologies said this grant will increase the college’s capability and capacity to address the needs of manufacturers in the area as well as introduce students to new and emerging technologies such as photonics or laser material processing.
“We are proud of our strong partnerships with our industry and their dedication to our students,” she said.