President Barack Obama speaks Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at Norther Virginia Community College. The event was attended by Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert at the invitation of the White House.
Shoreline Community College is taking a leadership role in the resurgence of manufacturing employment that is critical to America’s economic future.
“As President Obama reinforced today, manufacturing is a key component of the economy, and key to manufacturing are well-educated and well-trained employees,” Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert said.
At the invitation of the White House, Lambert attended Obama’s June 8, 2011 visit to Northern Virginia Community College. At the event, President Obama announced a major expansion of Skills for America’s Future, an industry-led initiative that partners with community colleges to support their role in workforce development strategies, job training programs and job placements.
“Last year, we launched Skills for America’s Future to bring together companies and community colleges around a simple idea: making it easier for workers to gain new skills will make America more competitive in the global economy,” Obama said in a prepared statement. “Today, we are announcing a number of partnerships that will help us make this a reality, by opening doors to new jobs for workers, and helping employers find the trained people they need to compete against companies around the world.”
Lambert said Shoreline is working to establish industry, government and education partnerships that can help students.
“When we reach out to companies like Boeing, our automotive partners, Snap On Tools and Amgen; to groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers, the Puget Sound Automobile Dealers and our many advisory councils; to our fellow institutions of higher education, it is so that we can better meet the needs of our students,” Lambert said. “President Obama’s words today reinforce the importance of those efforts.”
Shoreline Community College is working with the key partners of Skills for America’s Future, including: the Aspen Institute, which originated the initiative; the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and The Manufacturing Institute, the affiliated non-profit of the National Association of NAM.
Shoreline has two programs that are benefitting from grant support by the Aspen Institute, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others.
The college’s General Service Technician program - a three-quarter-long, entry-level automotive technician training program – has received Aspen Institute support. Gates and The Manufacturing Institute support the CNC Machining program with funding that puts a “career navigator” in the classroom. The career navigator helps students connect with potential employers, addresses other life issues outside the classroom and even provides follow-up support after the student leaves school.
“The program works,” said Susan Hoyne, Dean of Science at Shoreline Community College, who oversees both the automotive and manufacturing programs. Hoyne said that 100 percent of this spring’s CNC (computer-numeric controlled) Machining graduates have jobs in the field.
Joining Shoreline as pilot schools for the program are Forsyth Technical Community College, North Carolina; Lorain County Community College, Ohio; and The Alamo Colleges, Texas.
Hoyne said Shoreline’s CNC Machining program is also breaking ground in another item on President Obama’s list: Skills certifications.
“Our program was the first in the state to be certified by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills and our students have passed that certification,” Hoyne said. “That certification, validated by a third party, does two things: It lets employers know what skills they are hiring and it lets students take their certification anywhere in the country.”
Shoreline is also one of 20 community and technical colleges in Washington that are aligning their manufacturing programs with the needs of Boeing and the rest of the state’s aerospace industry.
In conjunction with The Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Materials Manufacturing at Everett Community College, Shoreline and the other schools are working to assure that skills learned in the classroom can quickly be turned into employment.
Director Mary Kaye Bredeson said the center’s mission is simple: To help aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries in Washington increase their competitiveness not only nationally but globally.
“Boeing has told us they have a tremendous need now and into the future for trained employees,” Bredeson said. “In meeting their needs and the needs of other aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies, we’re also meeting the needs of our students and our state.”
Shoreline President Lambert said the experience at Northern Virginia Community College was important.
“To hear and see the President speak of the critical importance of what we’re doing to help students, industry, the state and the country is very reaffirming,” Lambert said. “It is clear we’re heading in the right direction.”