Technical fields have long been regarded as low-paying industries that did not offer many career choices. However, as technology and machinery have advanced, fields like plumbing, welding and manufacturing have required highly skilled laborers and paid much higher salaries than ever before. To keep up with the demand for workers in these areas, and to change the perception of the fields overall, community colleges are striving to produce industrial tech programs that answer the needs of today’s workforce and train up a new generation of skilled workers prepared to advance this country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Trades in Focus
One initiative designed to advance industrial tech careers is Trades in Focus. This program was created through a partnership between the Association of Community Colleges and W.W. Grainger, Inc., the leading North American supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products. Trades in Focus provides an online toolkit to educate the general public about the importance of industrial tech careers and the potential opportunities these skilled trades offer. The program is also geared to alert those interested in industrial tech careers to schools and colleges across the country that are committed to training up workers in those specific fields, with innovative programs designed to teach the latest technology and processes in their industry.
Dr. Gary M. Green, president of Forsyth Technical Community College and member of the advisory board for Trades in Focus, said in a press release on PR Newswire, “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. The success in these programs depends on partnerships between the colleges, students and employers.”
The Trades in Focus toolkit can also be used by community colleges that are striving to attract more qualified students to their industrial tech programs. By illustrating the opportunities within these industries, the hope is that more students will come out of high school or from other careers to explore their options with the industrial tech fields. In the meantime, plenty of community colleges around the country are beefing up their industrial tech programs, ensuring students who come looking for high quality programs will get their fill at a community college campus in their area.
Hibbing Community College Offers New Industrial Tech Program
Minnesotans can find plenty of options in industrial tech training at Hibbing Community College. According to a report at WDIO.com, this school is ramping up its industrial tech options from mining certifications to training in welding, machining and fluid power, as well as many others. The school is providing all of the training under the umbrella of their new Industrial Systems Technology A.A.S. degree program.
Mike Raich, Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Services at Hibbing, told WDIO.com, “The program we developed projects based in the lab, hoping industry partners provide us with real hands-on projects that equate to what they do in the field.” About 40 students have already applied for the new program.
Ivy Tech Offers a Wealth of Industrial Tech Programs
This Indiana school continues to lead the way in industrial tech training, with a wide range of programs to choose from. According to the college website, some of the certificates you can currently earn through Ivy Tech Community College include:
- Fluid Power
- Industrial Electrician
- Industrial Heating and Cooling
- Industrial Machining
While these certification programs provide short-term training for a variety of specialized fields, Ivy Tech also offers technical certificate programs that include more in-depth training in a variety of areas of specialization. These areas include:
- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
- Power Plant Technology
- Natural Gas Technology
- Electric Line Technology
An Associate of Applied Science in industrial tech is also available through Ivy Tech. The school features a number of locations throughout Indiana so residents can find the program they want at a location that is convenient for them.
Erie Community College Brings Industrial Tech into the 21st Century
The industrial tech program at Erie Community College is designed for both high school graduates looking for a rewarding career and displaced workers seeking a job change. Workers already in the industrial tech field can also use the classes at Erie to hone and update their skills to remain competitive in their industries. The Associate in Occupational Studies has a generic core and the ability to customize your field of study to the specific field you are interested in. According to the Erie Community College website, some of the features of the industrial tech program include:
- Training in Plastics Technology
- Computerized Machine Tool Training
- Training in Machine Tools Trades
- Industrial Electricity Training
This program is specifically geared to the needs of the local industries, which work with the college to ensure the training provided equips graduates to get jobs in their fields right out of school. While apprenticeships are a common way to move into fields after college, other positions are available to students as well. By partnering together, the school has the greatest ability to provide specific training in the areas industries need most, and students are prepared to work soon after graduating.
Industrial tech has become a lucrative career prospect for many graduates and displaced workers in this country today. With many good industrial tech programs to choose from at community colleges nationwide, it is highly possible you can find the industrial tech certification or degree program you are looking for at a community college location that is convenient for you.
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