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The idea that the only way to a well-paying career was to attend a four year university, made students wary about manufacturing jobs. Coupled with the recession, community colleges found enrollment in technical and manufacturing degrees down. The upswing from the recession has finally come though. Employers are seeking skilled workers to fill open positions and colleges are implementing new programs to ready the middle-skill workforce.

A panel of manufacturing experts gathered at The Big M conference in Detroit to share their thoughts on the future of US manufacturing. Adrian Price, Director of the Global Manufacturing Business Office at Ford shared that the assembly line is here to stay, but that different techniques will continue to inform the way that we structure future manufacturing systems. Christine Furstoss, Global Technology Director of Manufacturing and Materials Technologies for General Electric discussed the need to create "brilliant factories;" factories that use the latest technologies to optimize operations. And Justin Fishkin, Chief Strategy Office at Local Motors introduced their 'micro-factories' concept that allows them to bring products to market rapidly.

Spartanburg Community College's Cherokee County campus was awarded a grant worth more than $600,000. The grant will be used to meet automotive workforce development needs, train advanced manufacturing technicians, and purchase training equipment and computers. Check out the Event Photos!

South Carolina manufacturers are stepping up to help communities recover from the record flooding. Boeing, Milliken, and Proterra are among many companies making donations to the American Red Cross. Others, like Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Lowes, and von Drehle Corp, are helping out with food and goods donations.

Hirotec America, along with other manufacturing companies in Oakland County, Michigan, opened their doors to students on Manufacturing Day. Students toured facilities and learned about opportunities for skilled trades jobs. Seeing modern manufacturing in action made an impact on the students. At a pep rally following the tours, speakers, including individuals from Oakland Community College reinforced the message that technically skilled people are needed by manufacturers.

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.

Brenda Hale is a three-time Pellissippi State college student. She's a non-traditional student continuing to enhance her knowledge and skills through Pellissippi State's programs. Brenda keeps coming back to Pellissippi State because as she says, "...the education I receive here is going to be what employers are looking for." Brenda is currently enrolled in the Engineering Technology/Mechanical Engineering degree program and is also studying 3D printing.

The Advanced Technology Center at BridgeValley Community & Technical College is all about the hands-on training experience. West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, who was onsite for the building's dedication stated, "What we're doing here is we're bringing employers in, asking them what kind of services, what kind of skills they need our employees to have. Then we can develop the program that they've asked for in order to train employees for that."


Toyota is one of the employers that is close to the project. The company has been collaborating with BridgeValley to fund and train students, and pledged $1 million to keep the equipment in the ATC building updated over the next five years.

Global automotive supplier Cooper Standard partners with Spartanburg Community College to celebrate Manufacturing Day with 2 events. First, on October 20, the company is inviting Spartanburg mechatronics students to its Spartanburg facility for tour. Then, on October 27, Cooper Standard will participate in Spartanburg's Manufacturing Day Open House by setting up a display and talking to students about advanced manufacturing.


For more information:

- Facility Tour:  http://www.mfgday.com/events/2015/cooper-standard-3

- Manufacturing Day Open House:  https://www.sccsc.edu/client/EventDetail.aspx?id=9892

Rockford Public Schools gave high school students the chance to tour local companies and see manufacturing in action. Gabriel Loury, a senior at Jefferson was impressed with what he saw, saying, "You really get to go in depth, you really get to see what's done, how it's done, what kind of environment you'll be able to work in, what you need to get into this sort of field." The tours were part of Rockford Public Schools efforts to get students interested in manufacturing. Watch the story.

For a second year, Danville Community College has been named  to Virginia Living's "Top High Schools and Colleges" list. The editors selected DCC for its expansion of facilities and equipment that enhance student's training in advanced manufacturing.

Gadsden State welcomes RTP Mobile Lab for Manufacturing Day

In honor of National Manufacturing Day, Gadsden State welcomed the Robotics Technology Park (RTP) Mobile Lab.  The lab is used to create awareness and interest for the development of a skilled industrial robotic workforce. Educators, community members, students, and more got the chance to get hands-on with the equipment, and learn about safety.

A 4-step plan for career success.

In this emerging world, professions increasingly demand a combination of academic knowledge and technical ability. How can you align your career with your skills and knowledge, and available job opportunities to become successful? The Spartanburg Community College Foundation in partnership with Wells Fargo shares a 4-step plan in Aligning for Success. Watch the video below.

The number of available jobs in South Carolina is growing, but there aren't enough skilled workers to fill them. Spartanburg Community College is changing that by showing potential and current students that manufacturing is a good career path. The school's efforts are paying off too. According to Jay Coffer, Chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Department, student enrollment is the highest he's seen in his 27 years. Those students are becoming problem solvers, not just button pushers; acquiring the skill set sought job hunters from around the state.

The South Carolina Technical College System was recently awarded $5 million by the U.S. Department of Labor to help expand apprenticeship programs throughout the state. The grant is designed to increase the number of manufacturing internships and increase access to education. Spartanburg Community College expects to receive $60,000 to $70,000 but could get more depending on how many businesses in the surrounding counties participate.

Alamo Colleges and the City of San Antonio launched a free job training program for residents of the San Antonio Promise Zone. Promise Zones receive federal funding to help reduce poverty and expand economic and educational opportunities. One focus of the program is training young people to take the place of the aging workforce. Officials believe that participants should expect immediate job placement after completing the training. In addition, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor believes the efforts will entice employers to consider the San Antonio area when opening new locations. She said that an employer's greatest consideration in coming to a new city isn’t a tax abatement — it’s whether there are enough skilled workers to meet the company’s demand.

Gadsden State Reps attend National Guard Education Fair

Representatives from Gadsden State Community College attended a National Guard Education fair in Birmingham, AL. At the event they spoke with National Guard members about the college's involvement in M-SAMC and the competency-based education programs offered at the college. With flexible scheduling, certificate programs, and more, Gadsden State makes it easy for National Guard members to complete a college education. Gadsden State Community College is an eligible institution for the Alabama National Guard Education Assistance Program, and offers other scholarships and assistance programs to National Guard members and their families.

1,400 high school students learn about Rhodes State AMT degree

Manufacturing Day was a hit for Rhodes State as they shared news about their Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) degree with 1,400 high school students. The students toured the Honda Transmission Plant in Russels Point for Manufacturing Day! After the tour, representatives from Rhodes answered questions on how students could get into the field of manufacturing.

Under the American Apprenticeship Initiative Danville Community College is one of four colleges receiving $2.9 million in grant funds to develop and implement an apprenticeship-based jobs training program. The grant funds will help the colleges teach advanced manufacturing and information technology career skills to both incumbent workers as well as those new to the workforce.


DCC Vice President of Workforce Services Jeff Arnold notes workers can earn a good salary while learning a lifelong trade. He further shares that employers are also benefitting because participants are are acquiring skills necessary to work within the company's culture.


Employers or individuals who would like to participate can call DCC at 434-797-8430, or email info@dcc.vccs.edu for more information.

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.

Technology is improving at a rapid rate, but many people can't keep up. The pace at which technological progress is happening is too fast to create enough new opportunities for humans. This calls for better training and schooling to keep up with the advancement of technology.

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 partnered with Keurig Green Mountain Inc. to train Keurig employees how to install, troubleshoot and maintain industrial electrical systems. The workforce development program, based on Pellissippi State’s Electric Systems Technology certificate, is serving as a model for similar partnerships Keurig Green Mountain is launching across the United States. Employees completing the program earn credits towards an Associate’s degree.

CREC shares LMI data at Gadsden State.

A main goal of the Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (M-SAMC) is to ensure the skills being taught in the classroom align with the skills needed on the manufacturing floor. Industry partnerships are crucial to understanding those needs and meeting this goal. Recently, Gadsden State Community College hosted a one-day seminar where representatives from the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) shared how to use economic and labor market data to engage industry partners. Key points discussed in the seminar included how to use data to understand economic engines, identify companies driving growth, develop strategies for engaging potential industry partners, and anticipate industry partner skill needs.


The seminar, Using Labor Market Intelligence (LMI) to Engage Industry Partners, will be hosted at other M-SAMC partner colleges in the future. Check the Events section of the M-SAMC website for more details.

Gov. Rick Snyder awarded Oakland Community College $4.5 million for their Skilled Trades Program. OCC also committed funds to boost the program. The funds will go towards purchasing equipment, which will help train students through hands-on learning. This will go a long way in providing access to high demand and good paying jobs.

Mayor Sherman Guyton says Gadsden is holding its own when it comes to job growth. A report by the economic research firm Headlight ranked Gadsden third in the "Fastest Growing Manufacturing Metros in 2014."

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.

MAPI officials state that 2015 has been a rough year for manufacturing due to the rough winter curbing industrial production. Other negative contributors included falling energy prices, the strong dollar, and high inventory costs. Daniel Meck Stroths, the group's chief economist, predicted that the market will better absorb these shocks in 2016. The forecast expects GDP to increase by 2.4 percent through the remainder of 2015 and by 3 percent next year.

The Murfreesboro, TN community could soon see an increase an advanced manufacturing jobs thanks to a new Nissan auto parts manufacturer. The unnamed manufacturer wants to build a factory in Murfreesboro. Before it can move forward, City Council needs to approve rezoning the selected site. Another manufacturer planning a move to the area is Topre America, who is investing more than $50 million in the Smyrna community and creating 105 jobs paying an average salary of $45,000 per year plus benefits.

Graduates from Alamo Colleges Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program were recently hired by Toyota. As students they had been working in the Toyota plant as part of their program. The AMT program developed by Toyota and Alamo Colleges culminates in a manufacturing degree that combines classroom instruction and hands-on experience at the Toyota facility. This program currently operates in eight states with over 100 students participating. The earning potential of an AMT degree is up to $50,000 plus benefits.

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.

The skills gap is a hot topic. Many employers realize the need for specialized middle skill workers, but have no pool to pull from. In Michigan, there will be 228,000 STEM-related jobs by 2018 and the workforce is not currently growing to fill them. To help combat this issue, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has approved grant funding for community colleges; Henry Ford College and Oakland Community College among them. Other initiatives are also aiming to bridge the skills gap, including the STEM Careers and Skilled Trades Task Force, Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program, and Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2).

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 Danville Community College Educational Foundation has established the Rosalie C. Mead Women in Manufacturing Scholarship to help set-up women for successful careers in advanced manufacturing. Awarded annually, the scholarship is a financial incentive to encourage females to enroll in the Integrated Machining Technology program at the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining. The scholarship is also a way to reinvest in the future of the local economy, ensuring growth of industry in the community.

Contrary to popular belief, industrial robots have been a substantial driver of labor productivity and economic growth. Is this positive impact on productivity having a negative impact on jobs? According to recent studies, no:  Robots increase productivity, but there is no visible relationship between the use of robots and the change in manufacturing employment levels. Instead, there is a change in the type of workers. With the arrival of robots, there is a higher demand for skilled workers relative to middle-skill and low-skill workers.

Spartanburg Community College is hosting a Manufacturing Expo.


Date:  October 27, 2015

Time:  4:00pm - 7:00pm


Click here to register for the event.

For more information contact Casey Breitenbach or Cresta Davis.

For President Obama's free community college proposal to work, students need more than free tuition; they need support and guidance. Current statistics show that about 60% of students continue with a second year of schooling, and only 30% earn an Associate degree after three years. Where's the disconnect? The short answer, the students don't know how to transition their coursework into a degree. Educators have to step-in and guide students down the educational path toward graduation.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that employers are looking for workers to fill new kinds of middle-skill jobs. Jobs in the fields of healthcare, information technology, and advanced manufacturing. To prepare workers for these new middle-skill jobs, employers and the U.S. educational system must invest in skill-building. Harry Holzer, an Economic Studies Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution outlines three new policies that may help:

  1. Provide more resources and incentives to public colleges.
  2. Expand apprenticeship programs along with other career and technical education.
  3. Incentivize employers to create more jobs.

Challenged with finding skilled workers to fill positions, Toyota teamed with BridgeValley Community & Technical College to launch the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program. In the program, students gain crucial knowledge and training needed by today's manufacturers. Learn more about the partnership and the program's success at BridgeValley's website.

Honda has plans to fund a workforce development initiative based in Ohio. The goal being to spark interest and provide training in the manufacturing field. The program, called EPIC, will be aimed at middle school, high school, and college students to help combat the growing number of unfilled manufacturing jobs.

Now in it's second season, TITAN-American Built, takes a look at manufacturing in America and how American manufacturing can compete in a global market. Recently the show visited M-SAMC school, Danville Community College. The show's host and precision machinist, Titan Gilroy, toured the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining and spoke with students.


Watch now!

Oakland Community College offers a Mechatronics Technician Training program that is built around the needs of industry. Aimed at helping those that are unemployed, underemployed, or looking a career, the program gives students a pathway to employment. Download the brochure to learn more about the program.

The PBS Newshour takes an in-depth look at higher education in its special 5-part series “Rethinking College: Closing the Graduation Gap.” Each part of the series explores a leading edge experiment aimed at improving educational and career opportunities for poor students.


This excerpt, "Does early college for high school students pave a path to graduation?" looks at a unique experiment that tests if enrolling students in higher education before high school graduation helps close the college graduation gap.

Watch Now!

In 2014, Nissan North America and Tennessee partnered to build an education training center in Smyrna. This education center will operate as an extension of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Murfreesboro campus. The center aims to develop skilled workers for Nissan's Tennessee manufacturing operations and will offer advanced manufacturing training. It is scheduled to open in late 2016 and will be more than 150,000 square feet.





"Aligning Education with Employer Needs"

Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (M-SAMC)

5101 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128

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Unless otherwise noted this M-SAMC Website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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)