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CITEC will use Alcoa Foundation grant to train students for manufacturing jobs

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MASSENA – CITEC Business Solutions was recently named the recipient of a $50,000 Alcoa Foundation grant that will be used to develop a program geared toward high school students so that they can obtain the necessary skills to qualify them for positions in North Country manufacturing firms.

The goal of the North Country Manufacturing Readiness Program is to help individuals qualify for higher wage jobs available in the manufacturing field while helping to ensure a qualified, innovative workforce is developed for area manufacturers. The program is a partnership between CITEC, The St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), local high schools and area manufacturers.

The grant will allow CITEC and BOCES to develop a model training program that will help students obtain the necessary “soft” and technical skills to better qualify them for positions in North Country manufacturing firms. During the launch year, 12 students will be chosen to participate in the program through the fall and spring semester (2013-14) to help them obtain the necessary skills that will qualify them for open positions in the North Country manufacturing community.

Alcoa Foundation funds will assist in connecting candidates to the program, provide them with the training they need, as well as assist each candidate in obtaining their nationally-recognized Certified Production Technician certification which allows students to demonstrate their mastery of the core competencies of manufacturing production at the front-line level.

“We want to develop a repeatable model that both properly prepares workers for higher-wage manufacturing jobs and also develops the skilled workforce that American manufacturers need in order to remain competitive and innovative,” William P. Murray, executive director of CITEC said about the program.

The model program is expected to commence in September of 2013 and conclude with the first group of candidates completing the training by September 2014. The program will be ideally suited for high school students (age 16 and over) who are interested in manufacturing production, as well as young adults who are currently unemployed, underemployed or seeking a career change.

The lack of young adults seeking manufacturing careers and baby boomers reaching retirement age have created a greater demand for manufacturing workers. In 2011, the National Association of Manufacturers Skills Gap Report shows that 67 percent of manufacturers are currently dealing with a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers. And, 56 percent anticipate that shortage will grow worse over the next five years.

“While St. Lawrence County has seen the same decline in manufacturing jobs as much of the country between 2000 and 2010, for manufacturing to continue to be viable here, we will need to develop a trained workforce to support it,” Mr. Murray added.

“Though the initial year will only focus on 12 students, it is intended to allow us to structure a repeatable program that we can continue to use in the north country, as well as serve as a model for other areas of the country,” Mr. Murray noted.

The North Country Manufacturing Readiness Program will utilize three training tools to develop the workforce of tomorrow, which includes: Certified Production Technician (CPT), the National Work Readiness Credential and classroom practical training.

Certified Production Training is a four-week program that teaches proficiency in core competencies of manufacturing that provides in-depth training in such topics as safety, teamwork, customer awareness, workplace conduct, quality, continuous improvement, manufacturing process, and maintenance awareness.

The National Work Readiness Credential focuses on entry level skills involving situational judgment, reading and math comprehension, and oral communication skills.

And, as part of the classroom practical training, the students will develop increased skill levels in blueprint reading, math and science.

If you are interested in learning more about the program or would like to apply / recommend a student for participation, please contact CITEC Business Advisor George Mauch by emailing mauch@citec.org or calling him at 315.268.3778 x24.

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