KCC program offers free manufacturing training available for Battle Creek residents
Battle Creek Enquirer
Kellogg Community College wants to help Battle Creek residents launch a career in skilled trades by offering a free manufacturing training program for those who meet income requirements.
The Kellogg Advanced Manufacturing Assembly training program focuses on providing students the technical skills required to get a job in manufacturing and the professional skills needed to succeed.
“We have companies that are coming up and are like, ‘Hey, we need people,'” Workforce Solutions Career Coach Cherise Buchanan said. “They want people who are going to be committed and are going to stay there, and I think having these students come through our program and saying, ‘Hey, I can make it through this six-week program, and I can be there on time, and I can be there every day.’ You’re going to have a better opportunity.”
The program will start in January at KCC’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center campus. Courses cover foundational skills in technical training in manufacturing, Occupational Safety and Health Administration industry training, writing and computer classes and basic math for manufacturing.
Students also get experience working on a production line.
“It’s changing the whole concept of what it means to go to college.” Kellogg Community College Chief Communications Officer Eric Greene said. “So many people… think going to college means I’ve got to be there for two to four years or longer. There’s going to be homework. It’s going to be all lecture based. But this is college. These are college credits they’re earning toward an actual degree, but it doesn’t feel like a traditional college experience.”
‘What do you need to be successful?’
Students will earn 8.74 college credits, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10-Hour General Industry Certification and the WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate.
Throughout their training, students learn industry standards for efficiency, quality control and safety so that, upon completion of the program, they’re ready for work in an entry-level position.
“They’re actually learning these and putting them into practice,” Program Manager Lisa Larson said. “They’re debriefing at the end of each session. They’re doing several different production runs and then they’re talking about what defect they found and how they can do better.”
The program also teaches students the soft skills needed to get a job.
Through a partnership with Michigan Works and Goodwill Industries, students in the manufacturing program receive resume building and mock interview training, as well as financial literacy instruction. They also get assistance with job placement.
Students also receive support services to help them overcome other barriers such as transportation or having enough to eat.
“Anything our students need, we all kind of work together to make sure they get what they need,” Buchanan said. “I like to say, ‘Look at the total person…What do you need to be successful?'”
DENSO, Trillium among employers
Companies including DENSO Manufacturing, Trillium Manufacturing and Advanced Special Tools Incorporated have hired people from the program, and more companies are taking interest.
“Sometimes when we go on company tours, we have past KAMA students from four or five years ago giving the tours,” Larson said.
In some cases, Larson said, students who go through the manufacturing program will return to Kellogg Community College for more specialized training.
Greene said the program typically has high placement rates and job advancement rates.
“They come through our program, and they get a job, and then a short time after that, they get a raise or a promotion,” he said.
Even if students can’t find a job right a way, they can enroll in a paid work experience in manufacturing through Goodwill.
“Everybody can leave doing something if they chose,” Buchanan said.
The program is part of Kellogg Community College’s Innovative Accelerated Credentialed Training, known as iACT. The programs, which include manufacturing and nurse assistant training, are designed to quickly prepare people with workforce skills.
“There’s just a lot of progress toward our local workforce becoming more reliable, more vital, just to the overall production that goes on in this community,” Greene said.
Paid for by W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Both iACT programs are made possible through three-year a $2.8 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Next year will be the final year of the grant.
Larson said Workforce Solutions would like to expand the program.
“We’re hoping to just keep continuing this because it is a very popular program. The employers recognize it. They value it, and we want to keep it going,” she said.
To be eligible for the program, those interested must be 18 years of age and a Battle Creek resident. They must also meet income eligibility guidelines determined by household size. For example, an individual must make less than $24,280 to apply.
Twenty slots are available in each session, and the deadline to apply for the January advanced manufacturing training program is Dec.16. Classes begin January 27.
Contact Elena Durnbaugh at (269) 243-5938 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ElenaDurnbaugh.