Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national non-profit dedicated to increasing community college student success, will begin a 16-month initiative designed to build a manufacturing talent pipeline in three communities, including Muskegon, by brokering stronger ties between community colleges in the ATD network and local manufacturing employers.
With almost half a million dollars in funding from Alcoa Foundation, ATD will bring together teams from Muskegon Community College, Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio, and Westmoreland County Community College in Pennsylvania along with local manufacturing employers to discuss current skills gaps and seek to align the colleges’ advanced manufacturing programs more closely with employers’ needs.
The initiative will also focus on recruiting individuals for training programs who might not consider manufacturing as an employment opportunity. The colleges will conduct outreach to local workforce boards, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations to attract the potential pool of students and workers and match them with training programs.
During the project, each college will host an assembly of employers and other key stakeholders in their communities to address the current context and needs of advanced manufacturing.
ATD will be developing a variety of tools to help other colleges in the ATD network to create or strengthen their own advanced manufacturing programs.
“We are excited about this opportunity to inform our local conversation about manufacturing career pathways and the talent pipeline with resources from around the country,´ said Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Dean of Academic Affairs at Muskegon Community College. “The Whitehall operations of Alcoa have been a local leader already on this topic and we are looking forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership and improving our connections with many more manufacturers locally,”
The initiative allows ATD to deepen its understanding of the skills colleges need to engage key community stakeholders such as employers in efforts that help more students achieve their academic and employment goals. ATD’s new approach to institutional change identifies engagement and communication as one of seven capacities that colleges must develop to succeed in creating a student-focused culture that leads to greater student success.
“This is a great opportunity for ATD to work with Network colleges to build pathways of economic mobility to credentials that employers value and lead to well-paid careers,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream.
“I am pleased that ATD will be bringing together the people, resources and know-how to help build a manufacturing talent pipeline for employers. We are grateful for our partnership with Alcoa Foundation on this important initiative. ”
“We are confident that Achieving the Dream’s proven model and deep relationships with community colleges will shine a light on the bright future that an advanced manufacturing career can provide,” said Ryan Kish, Program Manager, Alcoa Foundation. “Achieving the Dream is the right partner to strengthen these Alcoa communities, guide the community colleges and help close the skills gap.”