Mid-Plains Community College, along with all six Nebraska community colleges, recently received a $2,701,202 "trans*IT" (Transforming Industry and Training) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program.
The TAA Program is a federal program that assists U.S. workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. It seeks to provide these trade-affected workers with opportunities to obtain the skills, resources, and support they need to become reemployed.
At MPCC, trans*IT will support updates in industry technologies, curricula, faculty skills, and training facilities to reflect best practice for welding and worker safety. With the help of trans*IT, welding students will be trained for numerous welding certifications based on American Welding Society program standards, with particular emphasis given to certifications needed for railway and bridge work. These updates are particularly important for successful employment within the area rail industry.
"This new welding equipment should allow the students who attend MPCC to focus more on welding and will give them the opportunity to spend more time welding and preparing for American Welding Society (AWS) certification. In addition to expanding the number of welding stations, this grant will also provide the college the opportunity to modernize the welders being used and the exhaust system. It will also allow us to build two grinding rooms to promote safety and improve the air qualities in the welding shop," said Bruce Dowse, Area Dean of Outreach and Training and project manager. "As a result of this welding upgrade, the MPCC facility will eventually be seeking certification as an AWS Certified Test Facility. We will also be able to better serve UPRR in their training needs by expanding the number of weld stations available and providing more modern equipment."
To maximize the benefit of community college and TAA grant resources, Nebraska Community College Consortium (NCCC) members and partners will work together to share expertise, best practices, curriculum, faculty training, and instructional resources to train 1,603 participants. Consortium members will collaborate through project-specific work groups and a statewide trans*IT SharePoint, developing standardized templates and processes for industry-responsive training plans, longitudinal student tracking, best practices research, and ongoing, data-based program improvement.
The Nebraska Entrepreneurship Training Force (NETForce), a collaborative initiative of Nebraska community college Entrepreneurship faculty, will provide trades faculty with instructional resources and training to embed entrepreneurship within trades curricula, opening additional career pathways for trans*IT participants.
In addition to these statewide initiatives, each community college will focus resources on specific areas of capacity building and training.