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U.S. Secretary of Labor Announces Manufacturing Training Grant at Visit to STLCC

October 10, 2012

Hilda Solis with STLCC students  
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, left, meets with students in an engineering class at St. Louis Community College during an Oct. 10 visit to the college's Emerson Center for Engineering and Manufacturing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis discussed the importance of investing in advanced manufacturing training programs during a visit Oct. 10 to St. Louis Community College.

After touring the college’s Emerson Center for Engineering and Manufacturing at the Florissant Valley campus, Solis joined elected officials, college and business representatives to explain how programs such as the Missouri Manufacturing Workforce Innovation Networks (MoManufacturingWINS) initiative will offer innovative training to better prepare individuals for careers in modern manufacturing.

St. Louis Community College is leading a consortium of public community and technical colleges that recently received approximately $15 million for MoManufacturingWINS through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative. Through MoManufacturingWINS, some 3,300 trade-impacted and long-term unemployed workers throughout Missouri will receive training and earn industry-recognized credentials for high-demand careers in production, industrial maintenance, welding, machining, and transportation and logistics.

“It’s important that those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own get back into the work place and into just as competitive fields, if not more so, and be able to do so by obtaining credentials that mean something,” Solis said. “We are supporting schools that will work directly with companies and corporations that respond to the real needs of employers. We know Missouri has a long and proud history of leading in manufacturing, particularly in the automotive and aerospace areas, since the 1950s. Manufacturing is growing here and it is very important to the state and our economy overall. This grant will help increase capacity so we can have more course offerings that produce more trained workers.”

Solis noted that in Missouri, manufacturing contributed $60 billion in direct and indirect benefits to the state economy as 23 percent of Missouri’s workers are employed in advanced manufacturing-related occupations. The average wage in advanced manufacturing is approximately $49,000.

Myrtle Dorsey and Hilda Solis  
STLCC Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey, left, and U.S. Secretary of Labor
Hilda Solis look at a nameplate produced by students in an
engineering course at St. Louis Community College that was
presented to Solis during her Oct. 10 visit to the college's Emerson
Center for Engineering and Manufacturing.

STLCC will receive $4 million, the largest portion of the grant, for local training programs and statewide grant administration, with the remaining amount allocated to partner institutions.

STLCC will innovate the way adult workers in Missouri are trained and make programs more adult friendly. The new curriculum and structure will engage students in the training process, and move to an education model that establishes career pathways to fill employer needs for workers with specific skills. The new approach also will provide flexible scheduling and technology to make it easier for adults to fit into their work and family schedules, as well as accelerate completion.

“St. Louis Community College has a long legacy of serving the needs of Missouri’s top employers,” said Myrtle Dorsey, Ph.D., STLCC chancellor. “We are going to continue that legacy by providing opportunities through the MoManufacturingWINS grant to train skilled workers for high-demand careers.”

Mo. Rep. Clem Smith (D-71st District) is living proof that grants such as MoManufacturingWINS provide tangible results. A third-generation autoworker, Smith lost his job at the Chrysler Assembly Plant after 13 years when the recession forced its closure in 2009. Through a partnership program between Boeing and St. Louis Community College, Smith not only had an avenue out of unemployment, but he also had a job with Boeing within three months. He currently is an aircraft assembly mechanic after completing short-term training what is now known as STLCC’s St. Louis Aerospace Institute.

“Ultimately, the goal is to make this region more attractive to employers, and I believe they will come because what drives that is a skilled workforce,” Smith said. “These programs will help that because they work. These programs not only help individuals like me, but they also help the economy, and they help the employer.”

A total of 54 federal grants covering nearly 300 schools across the country were awarded in mid-September. The grants will foster partnerships between community colleges and local employers to promote skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math occupations.