CNC Machining in Our Region – Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead

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If you’re a company or worker in the manufacturing sector than you’ve noticed the difference CareerEdge Funders is making in the industry. A 2012 Skills Gap Study commissioned by CareerEdge Funders revealed regional employers have major concerns regarding the lack of talented workers available, the quality of training produced by our educators and the lack of soft skills found in the current workforce. CareerEdge Funders sought to address these issues and brought key stakeholders to the table to do just that.

Mireya Eavey, Executive Director of CareerEdge Funders spearheaded a collaborated effort with Sarasota County Commission, Sarasota Technical College (STC)Gulf Coast Community Foundation, and regional employers to update equipment in the schools, update curriculum being used in the classroom and connect students to current opportunities the industry offered. To close the gaps this study uncovered a new CNC Machining program at STC was developed and launched in 2013.

The CNC program graduated its first class of 15 students with a 100% job placement. On June 25th STC will graduate its sophomore class, a class of 15. Half of the class graduates are already putting their education to practice working in manufacturing careers. STC can’t get students enrolled fast enough and companies have positions vacant and ready to fill with graduates- a refreshing change of pace following the hard hits of the economy the last several years. This year, STC launched an evening class to accommodate the demand for students seeking to obtain additional credentials while working full time positions; the current cohort of 6 will graduate this fall.

The success of this program didn’t happen overnight. It took a community-wide effort to bring the CNC program to life. Sarasota County Commission made a $313,000 investment so STC could purchase updated equipment. Regional companies invested time to develop content and curriculum that would be used in the classroom so it would be relevant in the workplace. CareerEdge Funders paved the way for this program to launch and helped unemployed, disadvantaged members of our community enter and complete the program successfully.

The movements of this community-wide approach created a ripple affect still being felt around the region. Companies who are industry competitors now sit around the table to discuss skills training, necessary industry credentials and how they can collaborate to minimize skill gaps. Educators and employers are now communicating; discussing career paths available, what training and credentials are necessary to keep employees in our community and how to help workers advance in their fields as technology continues to evolve and advance. Our community has shown get strides in joining forces to leverage resources, keep our workers competitive and diminish skill gaps and unemployment.

The impact these efforts made extend beyond the manufacturing community; the lives of those who participated in the program and the companies which grew their workforce as a result. The collaboration of government, educators, community organizations and companies coming together to implement a solution is a blueprint for how we as a region will address other workforce issues. CareerEdge Funders will continue to diminish skill gaps, help companies grow, assist in the economic development of our region and create better opportunities for the citizens in our community.

To help celebrate the success of this program and these efforts join us for the STC CNC Program Graduation, June 25th from 6:00-9:00pm at the Sarasota Technical College Conference Centered located at: 4748 Beneva Road, Sarasota FL

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