Last week, President Obama announced he wants to make the first two years of community college free for students who “are willing to work for it.” His America’s College Promise proposal would provide government funding to pay community college tuition for students who maintain a 2.5 GPA. Reactions to the plan have been divided and no one knows if Obama’s proposal will be passed by congress. Though the future of the President’s free tuition plan is unknown, there is no doubt that education is the key to getting good jobs in today’s economy.
Community colleges are teaching workers valuable skills that employers are looking for right now. A community college education can be a bridge to a better job. Right here in Western North Carolina, manufacturing is one of the industries that employ the most workers in our region. The occupational training and academic programs available at AB Tech and Blue Ridge Community College are giving students the specialized training and knowledge they need to succeed in manufacturing careers.
At Friday Services, we have developed relationships with our local community colleges, students, and employers. Our employment agency helps community college graduates build successful careers in a variety of industries, including manufacturing. We’ve seen firsthand the difference that education and good jobs can make for people. If you are considering going back to school to begin a new career or improve your job prospects—don’t wait. Here are four local community college programs that can help you begin a successful new career in manufacturing:
Computer Integrated Machining
The Computer Integrated Machining Technology programs available at AB Tech and Blue Ridge Community college can help you learn the skills you need to succeed in a variety of manufacturing jobs that involve machinery, computerized equipment, and robotics.
Currently in the Computer-Integrated Machining Technology Department at AB-Tech you can earn the following certificates or degrees:
Computer-Integrated Machining Technology Associate in Applied Science
- Computer-Integrated Machining Technology Diploma
- Basic Machining Certificate
- CNC Programming Certificate
- Fundamentals of Metals Certificate
At the Blue Ridge Community College Computer Integrating Machining program you can earn the following certificates and degrees:
Computer-Integrated Machining Associate in Applied Science
- Computer-Integrated Machining Diploma
- Computer-Integrated Machining Certificate: CNC Turning Operator
- Computer-Integrated Machining Certificate: CNC Milling Operator
- Computer-Integrated Machining: Certificate: Machinist
- Computer-Integrated Machining: Certificate: Engine Machine Shop
- Basic Machining Certificate
The type of certification or degree you earn will determine the type of job you may be eligible for. A list of some of the industrial jobs these programs prepare workers for includes: CNC Machinist, Machine Operator, Mechanical Assembler and Mechanical Engineering Technician.
The Mechatronics program at Blue Ridge Community College offers a variety of tracks you can take to learn the skills and earn the certifications you will need to succeed in several types of manufacturing careers including electrical, mechanical, computer, and industrial engineering. Tracks include:
- Certified Production Technician (MSSC)
- Manufacturing Production Technician (CPTAE)
- Certified Logistics Technician (MSSC)
Industrial Systems Technology
AB Tech offers an Industrial Systems Technology program that teaches the required skills for jobs that involve installing, inspecting, repairing, and maintaining industrial equipment. You can either earn your Associate’s Degree or Basic Maintenance Certificate. The skills and knowledge you would gain through this program will help make you eligible for Industrial Maintenance Technician jobs.
Mechanical Design Technology
When you earn your Associate’s degree, Diploma, or Pre-Engineering Certificate in the Mechanical Engineering Technology department at Blue Ridge Community College you show employers that you have mastered basic engineering principles and the necessary technical skills to design, develop, test, and troubleshoot projects involving mechanical systems. AB Tech also offers a Mechanical Engineering Technology program in which you can earn your Associate’s Degree or an Automation & Robotics Certificate.
The knowledge and experience you would gain from either of these programs could prepare you for a variety of occupations, including Mechanical Engineering Technician jobs, Quality Control Technician jobs, Material Testing Technician jobs, and Research Technician jobs.
Why Waiting to Go Back to School Could Cost You Money
If you are ready to improve your job prospects now, don’t wait for a new government program that might pay your tuition. You could actually cost yourself money if you delay going back to school. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that workers who have earned Associates Degrees make more money than those who only have high school diplomas or GEDs.
If you are not sure whether or not you can afford the cost of tuition—talk to your local community college about financial aid. According to the American Association of Community Colleges 58% of all students who are attending community colleges right now are receiving some type of financial aid including a mix of federal grants and loans, state aid, and funding from the school.