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Penn College, NJIT get nearly $8 million for apprenticeships


Pennsylvania College of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology have been awarded a $7,996,530 federal grant to develop industry-driven strategies for apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing fields.

Penn College, a leader in innovative apprenticeship programs and a special mission affiliate of Penn State, and NJIT, New Jersey’s public polytechnic university, received the funding as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s awarding of $183.8 million in grants to 23 academic institutions and consortia nationwide. The goal is to further expand apprenticeships and address the skills gap. The educational institutions are partnering with companies that provide a funding match. The ultimate aim is to satisfy industry’s enormous demand for trained American workers.

“Penn College has been addressing the skills gap for a long time,” said President Davie Jane Gilmour. “In the past few years, we’ve added apprenticeship training as an integral part of this effort. We are pleased to partner with New Jersey Institute of Technology to expand the reach of apprenticeship. Collectively, we anticipate providing training to more than 3,000 apprentices over the next four years. This collaboration will extend Penn College’s mission of creating ‘tomorrow makers’ and meeting significant industry demand for skilled workers.”

“We are extraordinarily pleased to be partnering with Pennsylvania College of Technology to provide on-ramps to New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York citizens to high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing,” said New Jersey Innovation Institute Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Timothy Franklin, who also serves as NJIT’s associate vice president for business and economic development and special advisor to the president. “The apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs we will be able to offer through this grant will help employers in biopharma, lightweight metals, plastics and other advanced manufacturing industries meet the rapidly increasing demands associated with new technologies and processes.”

(Videos featuring Penn College’s apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs are available on Penn College’s YouTube channel.)

The advanced manufacturing sector will benefit from apprenticeship training for mechatronics technicians, computer numerical control operators, plastics process technicians, light metals machinists and welders, biological technicians, as well as shorter-term programming to fill gap needs in areas such as project management and front line supervisor.

Penn College’s innovative approach has led to many firsts, including unique multicentered delivery models, never-before-apprenticed occupations and blended training approaches. With a mutual focus on technology education and complementary programs in niche industries, Penn College and NJIT are ideally matched to address employers’ skills shortages through development of a multistate program.

Aligned with the Department of Labor’s interest in scalability, Penn College will share successes from three years’ experience with apprenticeship programs as it works with NJIT through development and launch, serving new industries, locations and occupations.

Penn College and NJIT have been designated for grant funding to create Modular, Industry-Driven Apprenticeship Strategies (MIDAS).

Goals for MIDAS are:

  • Reinvent apprenticeship models by reconfiguring existing, inflexible structures into leading-edge systems designed to meet the complex, rapidly changing needs of advanced manufacturing. This will involve the use of smaller training modules that are flexible, customizable and stackable to meet employer needs for multiple occupations and have seamless options for registered programs and academic credit for prior learning.
  • Retrofit and expand current registered apprenticeships and develop complementary programs applicable across the sector.
  • Create new modular apprenticeships in specialty advanced manufacturing industries aligned with Penn College and NJIT’s expertise.
  • Create pre-apprenticeships to increase the number of people entering high-demand occupations.
  • Continuously improve program effectiveness and scalability.

This grant program is designed to assist companies who have committed to building their skilled workforce and provides assistance toward the cost of training.

“The apprenticeship model of earning while learning has worked well in many American industries, and today we open opportunities for apprenticeships to flourish in new sectors of our economy,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said in announcing the grants. “With 7.4 million open jobs and job creators searching for skilled job seekers, apprenticeship expansion will continue to close the skills gap and strengthen the greatest workforce in the world – the American workforce.”

For more about New Jersey Institute of Technology, a leader in STEM education, research, economic development and service, visit the institution’s website.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, visit the college website. For more information about the grant, email Workforce Development or call 570-327-4775.

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