MORRIS COUNTY — County College of Morris (CCM), recognized as 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 health care. 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 in entering a critically important industry in New Jersey,” said CCM President Anthony J. Iacono. “The USDOL grant further supports and strengthens our mission to be one of New Jersey’s major economic engines.”
“This grant award to support manufacturing apprenticeships is a great step forward for New Jersey’s knowledge economy,” said New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis. “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 leaning 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 Community 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 health care. 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,” said Iacono.