Education Reform

Gadsden State Community College held a Girls Employed in Manufacturing (GEM) Day for female high school students to discover job opportunities in the industry. The students received a tour, hands-on assembly line experience, and listened to speakers as part of the day sponsored by the Alabama Technology Network.

BridgeValley's Toyota Hall highlights the prosperous partnership that Toyota and BridgeValley forged in 2012. This partnership created an Advanced Manufacturing Technician degree which allows students to learn in the classroom and work at the Toyota plant, providing them with an education and a paycheck. Under this program hands-on experience is a reality and prepares students to start a career after they graduate.

The National Science Foundation is awarding $3.8 million dollars for research in advanced manufacturing and nanotechnology at the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky. The grant allows the schools to upgrade and enhance their advanced manufacturing equipment. It further allows them to add staff to train and support external users, and provides seed money for advanced manufacturing-based research projects.

Together, Nissan and Rutherford High have created the Rutherford Works High School Internship, giving selected students an inside look at what a job on the manufacturing plant floor entails. These high school interns are put through a four-week program, which is an abbreviated version of the employee ten-week training. Beth Duffield, Vice President for Workforce Development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce explains, "Through the internship, students are exposed to potential career paths and given hands-on experience in the workplace." Duffield adds, "...the chance to actually practice what they're learning in a real-world setting is an invaluable component to the learning process..."

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation approved $50 million in grant funding for community colleges. This funding ensures Michigan provides the training and the workforce to meet the skilled trade needs and to create more jobs in the state. Schools receiving the grants, like Oakland and Macomb community colleges, must provide a match of funding, plus work with local school districts and submit a detailed plan on how the funding will meet employers' job needs.

Kentucky employer-educator partnerships are paying student workers to learn advanced manufacturing skills. This apprenticeship approach will help maintain growth in the industrial sector of Kentucky. Job opportunities within the manufacturing sector are increasing, but qualified candidates are hard to come by. This collaboration between employer and educator is what students need to be ready for the steady stream of manufacturing jobs becoming available.

Alamo Colleges joins The Collaborative, a new partnership between community colleges and industry. A natural extension of Alamo Colleges work with M-SAMC, The Collaborative is  developing course content that aligns with employer skills needs. This employer-driven process will equip prospective employees with in-demand skills in the advanced manufacturing and financial services industries.

Pellissippi State Community College students looking to continue their education at a four-year institution got some welcome guidance from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) administrators, academic counselors and admissions team members. During MTSU's "Paint the Colleges True Blue" tour, representatives visited Pellissippi's Hardin Valley Campus. They shared how to make the right course choices to ensure a smooth transfer to a four-year institution, and how MTSU is redesigning courses and offering enhanced advising to help with student success after transferring.

According to business executives surveyed by the University of Alabama, education, including workforce training, is a top issue facing the state. When asked about issues facing their companies, the executives ranked the lack of a qualified workforce as a top three concern.  This skills gap is being addressed nationwide by policymakers and community colleges.

While a growing number of jobs require some form of postsecondary education, the jobs that do not are of increasingly low quality and pay. A recent study by the Pew Research Center confirms the negative consequences for those without postsecondary education: 22 percent of young adults with just a high school diploma live in poverty today, compared with 7 percent in 1979.


College credentials are the price of economic opportunity today.  The educational requirements of jobs have been steadily increasing over the last two decades, making postsecondary education a necessity for anyone wishing to avoid a lifetime in dead-end, low-wage jobs.


As pathways into the middle-class has narrowed, a large and growing share of students in college today are not pursuing bachelor degrees.  They are enrolling in career education programs at the certificate and associate's degree level that are designed to prepare them for entry into a specific occupation.

The White House aims to strengthen ties between community colleges and private companies to shrink the skills gap.  Reversing the decline of vocational programs to address the manufacturing field, as it has become more technologically sophisticated, will equip workers with the mathematical and technological skills needed to secure good-paying jobs.

Programs like SelectUSA are driving investment into U.S. labor capital through reshoring and investment by foreign owned companies.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics & Statistics Administration, the U.S. workforce is 30% more productive than Germany's and twice as productive as South Korea's.

By a landslide 95-3 vote, the Senate passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA); initiating changes to the job training system for young people with disabilities.

"Aligning Education with Employer Needs"

Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (M-SAMC)

5101 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128

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This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership.

*AMTEC is supported entirely by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technology Education (ATE) Program Grant (0903193). (AMTEC,NSF ATE DUE-0903193)