Winter 2012 |
Advanced technology center brings industry demands to the fore
Industry collaboration means big opportunities for business, students
When industry talks, MCC listens. As plans develop for MCC’s Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology at the Fort Omaha Campus, its shape will very much be determined by the needs and challenges facing local industry.
According to the National Skills Coalition, the demand for middle-skilled workers is robust. Industry leaders say there is a shortage of middle-skilled, “gold collar” workers—that is, trades workers who can navigate not only the electrical and mechanical systems of traditionally blue collar jobs, but also the advanced information technology components now integrated in most trades. To sort out these challenges and opportunities, MCC hosted a Nov. 1 charrette—a technique for engaging and consulting all stakeholders—bringing local business leaders together with MCC leaders. As discussions move forward, industry and community voices will be an integral part of creating a center that provides a path to meaningful job opportunities, invests in northeast Omaha and transforms the community. “The center will be a catalyst that can take the region and the state to the next level of economic development,” said Craig McAtee, executive director of the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers and a collaborator at the event.
In December, McAtee and a team from the NCATC will visit MCC to work with industry representatives and community leaders. NCATC will assist MCC in developing programs and necessary operational changes to ensure the success of the Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology.
The proposed Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology is part of MCC’s effort to bring construction-related trades programs and advanced technology programs together at the Fort Omaha Campus, according to the College’s master plan. The programs would allow 1,300 students to be trained annually.