Golden LEAF Foundation Grant Awards $825,000 to Expand Computer Integrated Machining to Five Area Community Colleges

Jan. 8, 2013 – The Davie Campus of Davidson County Community College will now have the ability to expand the National Association of Manufacturers’ Endorsed Skills Certification Program in Computer Integrated Machining thanks to an $825,000 Golden LEAF Grant. The grant was awarded to Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, which serves as the lead in a consortium of five colleges in which the Davie Campus of DCCC is a member.

The grant will allow each of the five schools in the regional partnership – including Guilford Technical, Randolph and Rockingham Community Colleges – to coordinate training for jobs in computer-controlled machining; promote adoption of industry-recognized, third-party credentials; and build career pathways to attract high school students and others into advanced manufacturing. The grant also includes money for new equipment at each college, instructional support and supplies, credentialing costs and professional development.

David M. Powell, president and CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, applauded the effort in proposing a coordinated, regional approach to building a workforce trained in both the technical competencies and “soft” skills that manufacturers need to thrive.

“A skilled workforce is a key factor in the economic development strategy for the Piedmont Triad, and a strong manufacturing base is fundamental to economic success,” Powell said. “The coordinated, systematic, sustainable approach to mid-skills training envisioned will make the region even more competitive in recruiting new investment and landing new jobs.”

The award is one of nine totaling $5,723,130 that the Golden LEAF Board of Directors has awarded through its Mid-Skills Workforce Training Initiative to help 14 community colleges deliver hands-on training in skill areas that are in demand by North Carolina companies. These projects will serve 25 counties across the state and target more than 3,580 employment opportunities identified by industry over a two- to three-year period.

“The Mid-Skills Initiative will help address several issues with manufacturing employment in the state,” said William Clarke, Golden LEAF board chair. “The grants awarded will provide citizens from tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural communities with access to skills training for high wage jobs, connect the state’s industries with the skilled workers they need, and upgrade the capacity of our training institutions.”

Pamela Shortt, interim associate dean of the school of Business, Engineering and Technical Studies at DCCC, noted that DCCC is a member of the North Carolina Advanced Manufacturing Alliance – a partnership that was funded by a Department of Labor (DOL) grant. Thanks to funds from the Golden LEAF grant, DCCC will be able to expand the capacity of the work from the DOL grant to Davie County.

“That expansion means DCCC and Davie County Public Schools will be working together in a collaborative partnership to build a computer-integrated machining lab on the campus of Davie County High School,” Shortt said. “The high school will provide space to deliver the Computer-Integrated Machining program in Davie County. In turn, as part of the North Carolina Career and College Promise Program, students there will have the opportunity to earn two college certificates and their general education core while still attending high school.”

The lab will be equipped with three CNC Vertical Mills (3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis), three CNC Turning Centers, four manual knee mills, four manual engine lathes and two surface grinders. Grant money from the DOL and the Golden LEAF funds will help purchase nine pieces of the equipment 

“Also, as part of this partnership, DCCC will expand the welding lab on the Davie Campus, which is directly across the street from the high school,” Shortt said. “This will expand the capacity of the welding program to allow high school students to earn a college certificate – possibly two – while in high school. This is also a program that is made possible by the NC Career and College Promise Program.”

The Golden LEAF grant will also help pay to build a mobile advanced manufacturing lab that will be used for recruiting students, as well as customized training for business and industry. 

“These state-of-the art labs in the high school, the Davie Campus, as well as the mobile lab, will be ready for class use in the fall of 2013, providing students the education and skills that will boost our local workforce,” Shortt said.

In addition to the five community colleges, key partners in the 2½-year project include public school systems, workforce agencies, businesses and the Piedmont Triad Partnership.

Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully-accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2013. It is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations, and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College on the Web at davidsonccc.edu.