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Monday, October 28th, 2013

Today’s blog comes to you from our friends at AMPed NH.

Innovation’s been the name of the game where the New Hampshire community colleges’ AMPed NH is concerned. And now AMPed NH is taking innovation in workforce development to a whole new level. It’s offering tuition-free courses and myriad academic and professional support services to as many as 2,000 new students who enroll in a core advanced manufacturing certificate program.

The Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships in Education is an initiative of New Hampshire’s seven community colleges, advanced manufacturers, state agencies and others formed to increase the highly skilled workforce through targeted training and education programs. It is funded by a $20 million TAACCCT grant from the U.S. DOL Employment and Training Administration.

AMPed NH is offering tuition-free courses to 2,000 students enrolling in a core advanced manufacturing certificate program.

AMPed NH is offering tuition-free courses to 2,000 students enrolling in a core advanced manufacturing certificate program.

AMPed NH has developed dozens of industry driven and approved training and education programs that directly meet the high-tech needs of New Hampshire’s advanced manufacturers. Its approach mirrors that of the industry itself: Lean. Clean. Precise. Smart. Students are taught the exact science, technology, math and engineering skills identified by manufacturers as necessary for success. In the colleges’ updated labs, students use state-of-the-art virtual machines before advancing into work with the same types of cutting-edge equipment used on professional design and production floors. The goal: A seamless transition from classroom to career.

Sector-specific certificate and associate degree programs build skills in concentrations such as mechatronics and automation/robotics, advanced composites manufacturing, engineering technology, advanced machine tool technologies, electronics and electromechanics and advanced welding, and satisfy the very specific skill-set needs of those sectors.  But the community colleges also identified a common thread in the concerns expressed by NH’s manufacturers; a gap had developed in a core set of universal advanced manufacturing skills as technology advanced faster than the competencies of the workforce.

The innovative solution? Develop a core-curriculum certificate program to build the highly skilled workforce, then strip away the major barriers faced by students and job seekers considering enrollment.

With that, the Applied Career Fundamentals for Advanced Manufacturing Certificate was designed to prepare students for successful entry into the advanced manufacturing industry.

“The Applied Career Fundamentals for Advanced Manufacturing Certificate, and the decision by the community colleges to offer courses tuition-free for a limited time accelerates the enhancement of the pipeline,” said Ross Gittell, chancellor of NH’s community colleges. “This approach — which represents another innovation designed to bolster the NH economy— should generate interest statewide.”

Based on government competency models and industry feedback, the certificate program builds skills in science, math, composition, communication, business fundamentals and computer skills. Students will also select two manufacturing elective courses to round out the requirements. Credit awarded in the program will be fully transferrable between New Hampshire’s community colleges and may later be counted toward associate degree requirements.

Top concerns for job seekers and prospective students include cost, accessibility and fear of the technical nature of the program. To address these, classes within the advanced manufacturing core are available in online, traditional classroom and hybrid formats. Twenty-four-hour online academic support and networking resources are available through AMPedNH Connect and, finally, the colleges are solving the cost issue by offering one course per new student tuition-free for a limited time.

By offering the first course within the advanced manufacturing core tuition-free to up to 2,000 students systemwide, AMPed NH aims to accelerate the growth of the pipeline of highly-skilled advanced manufacturing workers in the state and throughout New England.

“This initiative should help to level the playing field for those who are interested in entering advanced manufacturing but who feel they do not know where the entry point is,” said Will Arvelo, president of Great Bay Community College and administrator for the TAACCCT grant. “We hope many will take advantage of getting on this path that will lead to well-paying jobs in New Hampshire.”

To learn more about the certificate program and how to enroll, contact the admissions office at your local New Hampshire community college. To learn more about AMPed NH and its full complement of training and education programs, visit www.ampednh.com.

 

Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

NH Division of Economic Development