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CCAC recognized for providing technical instruction to apprentices through partnership with GACC

PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County was recognized at the 2019 Pennsylvania Apprenticeship Summit for its collaboration with the German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC). The Pittsburgh Chapter of the GACC received the award for most Outstanding Pre-Apprenticeship Program in the state for its Dual Apprenticeship Program Model for Mechatronics Technician and Polymer Technician. The pre-apprenticeship programs were described in the summit program booklet as demonstrating “excellence in coordinating apprenticeship training among students, high schools, community colleges and businesses and helping to supply the critical demand for skilled advanced manufacturing workers.”

CCAC’s role in providing related technical instruction to the apprentices was acknowledged at the summit by Eileen Cipriani, deputy secretary of Workforce Development, and Eric Ramsay, director of the Apprenticeship and Training Office, at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

“This recognition is a proud accomplishment because it showcases CCAC as a major contributor in a statewide recognized best practice model while also contributing to enrollment and student success,” said Debra Killmeyer, interim vice president and dean of Workforce Development at CCAC.

High school graduates in the apprenticeship program take mechatronics technology classes at CCAC’s West Hills Center as part of their training. The apprenticeship opportunity provides the students with a pathway into the Mechatronics program. Apprentices are able to earn a Mechatronics Certificate and a Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certification while working full-time and receiving the necessary training to succeed in a high-demand career in advanced manufacturing.

Mechatronics is CCAC’s signature automation systems program in which students learn the integrated skills of supply chain, process technology, robotics/AI and electrical systems. CCAC’s Workforce Development Division and the Pittsburgh GACC partnered for the first time in the fall of 2018 to establish an apprenticeship program to train employees of local manufacturers in mechatronics. The employees attend CCAC for eight hours of training every other week for two and a half years to earn their Mechatronics Certificate and credits toward their associate degree.

“Germany has always been very big on apprenticeships, and the German American Chamber is making that model work in the U.S.,” said Killmeyer. “This is a great way to learn new skills while earning a wage—and the company pays for their training.”