Putting "Trades In Focus"

Jul 25, 2011, 09:20 ET from American Association of Community Colleges

American Association of Community Colleges and Industrial Distributor, Grainger, Partner on New Education Resource Promoting Skilled Trades Training and Careers

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For years, industry has battled old stereotypes that confuse industrial skilled trades careers with low-skill, low-demand jobs. Today's industrial skills careers are in-demand and attract well-paying salaries. Careers such as plumbing, manufacturing and welding need skilled workers with specialized training and advanced problem-solving skills. In spite of these facts, many industries face skilled labor shortages even in the current employment climate.

"With advanced manufacturing leading the way in job recovery in this economy, the technical skills that have always been the hallmark of community colleges are once again in great demand," said Dr. Gary M. Green, President, Forsyth Technical Community College, and Trades in Focus Advisory Committee Chair. "The success in these programs depends on partnerships between the colleges, students, and employers."  

To help community colleges promote and raise awareness of skilled trades training and career opportunities, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) through support from W.W. Grainger, Inc., North America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, have launched Trades in Focus, an awareness campaign and new online education toolkit.  The initiative aims to strengthen the nation's skilled workforce by encouraging more people to consider the trades and forging connections among community colleges, potential students, employers, business and industry, and community leaders.

The Trades in Focus online education toolkit is designed to help people better understand careers available in the skilled trades and their potential opportunity.

-For prospective students, the toolkit highlights skilled trade career options that require two years or less of training. Potential salary ranges, planning tips and inspiring stories give prospective students helpful information to guide their planning.

-For employers, there's information about how to successfully partner with a community college to train and recruit workers needed to fill skilled trade positions.

-Community leaders will find helpful tools for facilitating community college and business partnerships as incubators for job growth and development.

The Trades in Focus toolkit also serves as a resource for U.S. veterans and community college administrators to better understand how military training can transition into industrial skilled trade careers and how best to support the transition from solider to student.

"The Grainger/AACC Trades in Focus program raises awareness of the value community colleges add to today's in-demand fields such as manufacturing, and makes resources available to community colleges to increase awareness of these career opportunities for students and potential students," said Greene.

All of the toolkit materials can be downloaded for free from the AACC website at: http://www.aacc.nche.edu/Resources/aaccprograms/tradesinfocus/Pages/downloads.aspx

Since 2006, Grainger and the American Association of Community Colleges have partnered to promote careers in the industrial trades through the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship program.  To date, more than 200 students have been awarded $2,000 scholarships to complete their studies in industrial trade programs.

About the American Association of Community Colleges

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Association of Community Colleges is the leading advocacy organization representing close to 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges nationwide. Community colleges are the largest sector of higher education, enrolling 12.4 million credit and non-credit students each year. To learn more about the AACC, visit www.aacc.nche.edu.

About Grainger

W.W. Grainger, Inc., with 2010 sales of $7.2 billion, is North America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, with an expanding presence in Asia and Latin America. To learn more about Grainger, visit www.grainger.com/technicaleducation.

SOURCE American Association of Community Colleges