Mississippi College Board Awards $1.1 Million for Advanced Manufacturing Tech Program

Meridian Community College expects the program will aid the state’s fast-growing manufacturing economy.

by The Meridian Star / October 12, 2018

(TNS) — The Mississippi Community College Board awarded a $1.1 million grant to Meridian Community College to start an Advanced Manufacturing Technology program.

The 2019 Career and Technical Education Challenge Grant will fund programs that have not qualified for traditional workforce dollars, according to an MCC news release.

“Meridian’s application for the Advancement Manufacturing Technology Program demonstrates a critical need to meet the workforce demand requested by the local business community to reduce the skills gap in your district,” Dexter Holloway, assistant executive director for workforce and economic development, stated in a letter announcing the award.

“This is exciting news for the college and absolutely speaks to our desire to address economic and workforce development needs in Meridian and Lauderdale County,” MCC President Tom Huebner said in a statement. “The challenge grant will serve as a catalyst for MCC to align career and technical education programs with ever-growing needs in advanced manufacturing.”

The design of most products and components is accomplished with the use of computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing programs, according to the news release. Computer numerical control machining is at the heart of advanced manufacturing and accurate and efficient production of complex components.

Richie McAlister, MCC associate vice president of workforce education, said in the news release, there is a growing talent gap in advanced manufacturing and MCC plans to meet the challenge of addressing that shortage.

According to the publication, Area Development Newsletter, employment in advanced manufacturing is projected to climb to a 13 percent growth; the third largest in Mississippi. Additionally, advanced manufacturing is the fourth highest paying sector in the state, according to the news release Another statistic points that nationwide industry will need to fill 3.5 million manufacturing jobs over the next decade with 2 million of those jobs being unfilled.

Students who take Advanced Manufacturing Certificate core classes, such as multi-axis machining, mechatronics, CMM inspection, robotics material handling and additive manufacturing metal, will have the opportunity to cross train in other MCC programs including Precision Machining Engineering Technology, Systems-Based Electronics Engineering Technology, 3D CAD Engineering Technology and Millwright Technology, according to the news release.

The Advanced Manufacturing Certificate can lead to an associate of applied science degree.

Machine Tool Inc., a HAAS Factory Outlet, Zavation and Precision Spine joiined MCC in the grant application process. Tower Automotive, Fairbanks Scales, Hol-Mac Corp. have agreed to serve as industry partners and provide future apprenticeship opportunities, according to MCC.

Brian Warren, MCC chairman of the industrial division and Precision Machining Engineering Technology Program coordinator and instructor, thanked industry partners who offered letters of support to make the grant a reality.

“This equipment will make MCC an industry magnet for not only Advanced Manufacturing, but also enhance the offerings in our existing Industrial Technology Programs,” Warren said in a statement.

Specifically, the grant will allow MCC to meet the needs of advanced manufacturers: 5 Axis Machining, Swiss CNC Turning, CMM inspections, Metal 3D Printing, Mechatronics. and robotic loading automation, according to the news release.

©2018 The Meridian Star (Meridian, Miss.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.