ACTE November/December2011 : Page 19

community colleges’ Partnerships With Industry The common denominator of the members and certification centers that comprise NC3 is progression and inno-vation in developing relationships with industry in all sectors. An example in the transportation sector is Shoreline’s General Service Technician Program for students interested in a career in auto-motive services. Industry partner Puget Sound Auto Dealers Association is on site, linking students directly to industry partners. This program has placed nearly 90 percent of graduates into jobs in spite of the economy. The National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) at Wichita Area Tech-nical College (WATC), in Kansas, offers success stories in aviation. Partnerships with companies like Cessna, Spirit, Bom-bardier, and Hawker Beechcraft allow WATC to offer its students state-of-the-art training in composites using practical training specific to what they will encoun -ter in the workplace. Francis Tuttle Technology Center has paved a path in emerging technologies in the energy sector with a Turbine Techni-cian program. In partnering with com-panies engaged in the wind energy sector, such as PCG Wind, this unique program was developed in an effort to meet the anticipated demand of wind to produce 20 percent of total electricity by 2030 (according to the U.S. Department of Energy). The program has cross-trained national ironworkers, and serves as a center for local employers to train new hires. The training received in electrical, mechanical and hydraulic torque technol-ogy is applicable from the oil fields to the top of wind towers, down to the manufac-turing floor. Industry’s stamp of approval endorses that these credentials meet high standards such as those found in Snap-on’s Torque Technology Curricula. The North Dakota State College of Sci-ence (NDSCS), home to one of the leading diesel technology programs in the try, has partnered with industry leaders such as John Deere and CAT to offer pro-gramming on state-of-the-art equipment. Partnering with industry helps absorb some of the costs of these multi-million-dollar pieces of equipment, while produc-ing the skilled workforce required by these organizations. Working with government, NDSCS has reinforced its commitment to excellence in programming and expansion of its current facility. The stories of the progressive nature of the grassroots leadership of NC3 can be told many times over. The common factor is that they each recognize the value of increasing educational efficiencies and ef -fectiveness for their organization by using the coalition as a means to an end. While we cannot do everything individually, together we can work in a deliberate and calculated manner which subsequently increases our reach exponentially. Turning concepts into reality When discussing the economy, we all have a role to play. Educational institutions are responsible for producing a highly skilled labor pool for local and regional businesses. Businesses sustain local and regional econo-mies which feed into the national economy. It is a cyclical process that includes local and national governments, community-based organizations, educational institu-tions, and workforce development orga-nizations working together to lessen the skill gap. This enables the United States to sustain its economy and compete at a global level. Collectively we can meet industry ex-pectations and grow our economy through up-skilling the American worker. Bryan Albrecht, Ed.D., is president of Gateway Technical College, Wisconsin. He can be contacted at STEM Curriculum Kits Class Packs Hands-On Activities Green Education Visit our Booth #1002 Call 800-835-0686 Visit N ovember/december 2011 Techniques 19

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