RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, William T. Powers III, president and CEO, Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), announced the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded CCAM a grant of $3.15 million to build an apprentice academy in Prince George County, Virginia. This award is supplemented by an additional $9.5 million appropriated from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
CCAM established the Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy to bolster the state's advanced manufacturing industry by creating a reliable pipeline of workers with factory-ready skills and credentials suitable for high paying jobs. These grants allow CCAM to begin the construction phase on the Academy.
"Automation and outsourcing jobs to low-cost countries, which negatively impact manufacturing employment, can only be addressed by providing our workers with up-to-date skills required by the marketplace," said Powers. "I would like to underscore that this funding would not have been made possible without the longstanding leadership and commitment of Delegate M. Kirkland Cox. Delegate Cox worked effectively across government and party lines to secure these funds for the good of the Commonwealth. We would also like to recognize Secretary Richard (Ric) Brown and Secretary Todd P. Haymore for their unwavering assistance in coordinating the executive and legislative branches and the federal government to fund the academy. We thank the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Foundation as ardent supporters since CCAM's inception, and we remain appreciative of the continued support from our CCAM members."
The CCAM Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy will create cutting edge, industry-driven curricula to enhance the statewide advanced manufacturing ecosystem. The academy's first three programs include: machinery, welding, and mechatronics. Certification standards will be defined by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) for machinist, the American Welding Society for welders, and the NIMS and Siemens Mechatronics Systems Certification Program for industrial maintenance mechanics (mechatronics). The study of mechatronics combines mechanical, electronic components, computer systems, and human interface.
"Advanced manufacturing is an opportunity to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.," said Kelly Marchese, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and federal supply chain leader. "To realize that goal, we will need both public and private organizations' commitment to apprenticeship programs such as CCAM to develop the much-needed skilled workforce. This is the inflection point -- we cannot blink." Marchese worked with CCAM to develop their apprentice academy strategic plan.
The academy will take a practical approach to training, said CCAM Workforce Director Bruce Sobczak. "Our vision is to house a true 'earn-while-you-learn' apprenticeship model including: structured classroom time, virtual instruction on an industry-driven curriculum, hands-on paid apprentice positions with industry employers, and recognized industry certificates and credentials. We will build upon the current workforce training network from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission's (TRRC) partnership with CCAM, including the Advanced Manufacturing Centers of Excellence and the Transitioning Veteran's Programs located in Virginia."
CCAM members and supporters applauded the federal and state government's decision to fund construction of the Apprentice Academy.
Tobacco Commission Executive Director Evan Feinman added, "Having a well-trained workforce that is able to fill jobs as they become available is critical to the Tobacco Commission's goal of developing a diverse economy in the areas we serve. Our partnership with CCAM has already paid dividends by improving our ability to attract top employers from around the world, and this project is another big step in the right direction."
"The timing of these awards is fortuitous as the CCAM Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy will create high paying, high demand jobs in advanced manufacturing which aligns with the goals and objectives of the GO Virginia initiative for region 4 and the Commonwealth," said Dennis Morris, Crater Planning District Commission Executive Director.
"Access to a skilled workforce is a key deciding factor for businesses choosing to locate or expand in the area," said Renee Chapline, Virginia's Gateway Region Economic Development Organization President & CEO.
"Now that the capital for construction is secured, we can begin our public fundraising campaign to deliver a truly sustainable advanced manufacturing workforce pipeline, which at completion, can be replicated by other communities throughout the country," said Betsey Odell, CCAM Development Director.
Since 2011, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is where the best of industry, academia and government come together to solve global advanced manufacturing challenges. Members of the center utilize CCAM's resources of talent, tools, and technology to build a critical impact on advanced manufacturing. Joining CCAM saves leading industry members valuable resources, improves methodologies, and increases new product introductions. CCAM delivers solutions to modern manufacturing. www.CCAM-VA.com
About CCAM Apprentice Academy:
America's factories have in-demand jobs that go unfilled due to an underserved skilled workforce. The CCAM Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy wants to change that by creating an ecosystem of advanced manufacturing resources from industry, academia and government. Utilizing an "earn as you learn" approach, the Academy will train skilled workers prepared to fill advanced manufacturing industry jobs and realize a career in innovative American factories.
The CCAM Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy will be called: CCAM Apprentice Academy and the website will be: ApprenticeAcademy.com
Media Contact: Betsey Odell
SOURCE Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM)