Grant Empowers County College of Morris to Lead Expansion of Apprenticeship Programs

Grant Empowers County College of Morris to Lead Expansion of Apprenticeship Programs

COMPILED BY JOHN JOSEPH PARKER, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

COUNTY COLLEGE OF MORRIS (CCM), a leader in the education of employees for advanced manufacturing, has been awarded a $4 million grant from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) to expand apprenticeship programs for the industry.

The USDOL’s Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grant program focuses on advancing the development of apprenticeship pro­grams in three areas: advanced manu­facturing, information technology and healthcare. The program supports part­nerships among educational institutions and the private and public sectors. These partnerships will create apprenticeship models to close the skills gap by provid­ing key training and job placement opportunities and strengthening path­ways into the workforce.

As a grant recipient, CCM will lead a consortium of New Jersey community colleges to build a network of appren­ticeship programs in advanced manufac­turing as part of a project called Career Advance USA. CCM was one of only 23 academic institutions nationwide to receive the USDOL grant.

“With more than 7,000 manufacturers in New Jersey, the apprenticeship pro­gram will help bridge the gap to create a skilled workforce for a critically impor­tant industry,” explains CCM President Anthony J. Iacono. “The USDOL grant further supports and strengthens our mission to be one of New Jersey’s major economic engines.”

New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis says this program “is a great step forward for New Jersey’s knowledge economy. The apprenticeship model offers a unique opportunity to blend classroom learning with direct workplace experi­ence in a mutually reinforcing fashion, and we are excited about the possibili­ties of the consortium of community colleges led by County College of Morris in partnership with the leading manufacturing firms convened by the German American Chamber of Commerce.”

The German American Chamber of Commerce is a central partner in the CCM grant and will bring extensive experience and expertise with the German model of apprenticeship training to the consortium’s efforts.

Last year, Iacono, along with 11 other education and workforce officials from across the country, toured Germany to examine its apprenticeship programs. Funded by the Transatlantic Outreach Program, the tour focused on how the United States might make use of the German model to expand experiential learning opportunities for students with the support of industry.

The CCM consortium includes Bergen Community College, Camden County College, Hudson County College, Mercer County Community College, Middlesex County College, Raritan Valley Com-munity College and Rowan College at Gloucester. Together, they will work with national industry partners includ­ing Arconic, Glenbrook Technologies, Norwalt Design, Rosenberger, Siemens, UPS and other leading firms in New Jersey.

Enrollment for the apprenticeship program will target both traditional and underrepresented populations, including the unemployed, veterans, transitioning military, women and people of color. At least 1,600 individuals are to be trained through the program.

The USDOL grant is perfectly timed with CCM’s construction of a 31,500-square-foot Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Center slated to open in 2020 to meet the needs of those key industries.

Additionally, CCM will be receiving approximately $500,000 as a consortium partner in the same USDOL grant pro­gram to develop apprenticeship pro­grams in healthcare. That project is being led by Bergen Community College.

“Not only are these grants an historic occasion for CCM but also for New Jersey and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, which also is partner­ing in the apprenticeship programs,” adds Iacono.

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