On March 14, 2017, Washtenaw Community College announced that the Michigan Strategic Fund approved an additional $42,000 to support workforce development at WCC’s Advanced Transportation Center.
The announcement was made during WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca’s testimony to a joint hearing of the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees on community colleges held yesterday at Washtenaw Community College.
In March 2015, WCC was awarded $4.4 million in funding from the state’s Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program (CCSTEP). The Michigan Strategic Fund awards additional allocations through the grant program when funds become available. This was the second increase requested and granted to WCC bringing the total additional CCSTEP grant funding for the ATC to $117,000 to date.
“WCC offers an IT intensive intelligent transportation systems curricula that combines three interrelated academic training programs – Intelligent Transportation Systems, Advance Manufacturing, and Automotive Transportation Servicing – in a holistic and multi-disciplinary manner” said Bellanca.
“By better aligning today’s workforce with the expectations and needs of business and industry, ATC can play a key role implementing relevant training programs to fill the employment pipeline with qualified, job-ready employees – particularly in the skilled trades,” she added.
The funding will support the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment for education and training
related to the Advanced Transportation Center, which provides training for the rapidly growing industries of intelligent transportation systems, advanced manufacturing and automotive transportation servicing. WCC programs in machine tool technology, welding and fabrication, auto body repair and automotive services will also benefit from the program.
There are currently 11,000 open, unfilled jobs available today in Michigan’s transportation sector. And nationally, 4.6 million new workers will need to be hired and trained for jobs in the transportation industry through 2022, according to a joint report by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Transportation.
In 2015, the WCC Board of Trustees appropriated funds to supplement the grant, bringing the total value of equipment and facility upgrades at the ATC to more than $8 million.