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CCAC partners with TEAM to help build skilled workforce and meet growing employer needs

Team Consortium logoPITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), partnering with members of the Tri-State Energy and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Consortium, is working to build a skilled workforce for the tri-state area of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia that will close the skills gap and address growing employer needs driven by the discovery of natural gas-rich Marcellus and Utica shale deposits. The region now accounts for 27% of the natural gas output in the United States—making it the third largest producer of natural gas in the world. 
 
TEAM’s primary mission is to connect students and workers with education, training and in-demand jobs to take advantage of the growing regional economy. Recognizing the current and future workforce needs of employers in the 27 counties covered by the TEAM Consortium, workforce and economic development organizations, state and federal agencies, private industry, and higher education partners comprising 10 community colleges are working together to ensure students have strong STEM skills and knowledge. These students will be equipped for careers in the rapidly growing fields of energy and advanced manufacturing, thereby ensuring an adequate number of skilled workers to meet the growing demand.
 
This approach builds on CCAC’s mission to provide affordable access to a quality education that prepares all of the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society. CCAC’s programs also enable students who wish to further their education to transfer credits to approximately 500 colleges and universities. And, by spending their first two years at CCAC, students living in Allegheny County save $24,000 over public and $63,000 over private colleges and universities.
 
In addition, CCAC prepares students for entry-level careers with some of the highest job placement rates and wage earning potential in the expanding fields of energy and advanced manufacturing. With nearly 30 certificates and degrees in STEM, including biotechnology, computer and information technology, electronics, mechatronics technology, engineering, computer-aided drafting, manufacturing and software design, students are ready to enter the job market after completion of an associate degree. CCAC graduates who wish to continue their education may transfer to a four-year institution for completion of a bachelor’s degree. 
 
Together, CCAC and TEAM’s other higher education partners are aligning curriculum across institutions and state lines to share common entry-level classes, building on foundational and transferable skills, and creating recognizable occupational pathways in energy and advanced manufacturing. These partnerships allow for flexibility in course delivery with distance learning options, making education more accessible and enabling students to finish their education wherever they are. Adding to the accessibility and flexibility of the programs, a stackable credential model has been developed to allow multiple entry and exit points, assisting students in this mobile workforce to meet their educational and professional goals. 
 
Many CCAC programs have industry specific advisory boards comprised of local employers and other stakeholders who work with the college to ensure the programs are in line with current and future workforce needs. Administrators and faculty in CCAC’s Mechatronics Technology program regularly meet with other members of the Mechatronics Advisory Committee. These include Eastman Chemical—Jefferson; Niagara Bottling; Industrial Scientific; DMI Companies; Kaman Fluid Power, LLC; German American Chamber of Commerce; West Allegheny High School; Southwest Training Services, Inc.; Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy; Impact Guard; Bayer; Wojanis Supply; and The University of Pittsburgh.    
 
In addition, CCAC offers seven apprenticeship programs in the skilled trades through the local Joint Apprenticeship Committee (JATC). Available apprenticeship programs include carpentry, electrical construction technology, heavy equipment operating, ironworking, plumbing, sheet metal working and stationary operating engineering. These high-demand programs would not be possible without the collaboration between CCAC and its JATC partners. Students have access to outstanding labs, highly qualified faculty, tools, supplies and employment by the apprenticeship providers.
 
Fall classes at CCAC begin on August 17 and 31. To learn more and register for classes, visit ccac.edu/registration.