Workforce Skill Development

Manufacturing skills improvement is critical to advanced manufacturing technology with its need for work-force skills that U.S. schools are neither cultivating nor preparing students to acquire. It is the Centerís goal is to facilitate the development of a manufacturing workforce with multidisciplinary skills of a high order.

To address this need, a group of public school, community college, university, association, and corporate personnel will be united under the Centerís umbrella. This group will design and implement a new paradigm in order to prepare the future workforce. At the same time, it will enhance economic development of the Shenandoah Valley region through the Advanced Technology Applications and Manufacturing Partnership. The partners represent a robust blend of expertise from relevant academic disciplines, future vital technologies, and an association dedicated to improving tomorrowís workplace.

To accomplish the Centerís goals on workforce skills development, the Center will

At the community college level, emphasis will be placed on programs that will increase the involvement of non-traditional students (those with work experience) as such programs add to the education of students who join the workforce directly from high school. The center will solicit the involvement of industrial affiliates of the community college system in all aspects of the program, and in curriculum development, faculty development, and planning for the future. Another innovative approach to workforce skills development is to offer a two-year manufacturing degree program that builds on the certification offered by professional societies such as the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). This certification, supplementing the degree, will provide industry with additional respectable credentials for the graduate.

Collaborative programs will be developed between JMU and the Community Colleges to develop curricula that will facilitate the attainment of a four year or advanced degree for those students wishing to do so. To extend linkages between all levels of the educational system, the University must find a way to become the "server" in the "wide area network" of the academic system while preserving the autonomy and identity of the Community Colleges. Other linkages must also exist from K-12 schools through to the industrial base. Such programs must accentuate the "rural" location of our Center and the small manufacturers it will serve. In concert with the Community College System, JMU, particularly the College of Integrated Science and Technology and the College of Business, will develop training programs to prepare small Virginia manufacturers for 21st century manufacturing.

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Last update: May 19, 1999.