PCC’s OMIC partnership reaps $300,000 in training funding
Portland Community College and its training partners with the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC) recently earned more than $300,000 worth of funding to kick-start critical education and skills training in the region.
The largest is a $247,512, 30-month Oregon Employment Department Apprenticeships in Manufacturing Grant (Oregon AIM). This grant will assist the Advanced Manufacturing Registered Apprenticeship Program (AMRAP) within the training center in Columbia County, which has yet to be built.
“OMIC Training is about strengthening education and workforce training for the manufacturing sector, from K-12 to a doctorate,” said Chris Holden, director of the OMIC training center. “The Oregon AIM grant will support our current focus of developing industry driven apprenticeship programs aligned with nationally recognized credentials and certifications to drive what training looks like, not only at the OMIC Training Center, but what feeder programs look like in pre apprenticeship and high school CTE programs.”
The funding will expand and enhance regional apprenticeship opportunities throughout the area. It will increase the number of apprentices in PCC’s Pacific Northwest Industrial Maintenance and Millwright Program by 120 during the three years of the grant; create four new OMIC-aligned registered apprenticeship standards for mechatronics technicians, industrial fabricators, CNC operators and machinists; and set a new standard in industrial fabrication for an apprenticeship program through Madden Industrial Craftsmen. In addition, there will be online training classes for the apprentices to reduce their travel.
“As we develop advanced manufacturing apprenticeship programs we will explore with OMIC academic partners alignment of apprenticeship training to higher degree pathways,” he said. “One of the exciting desired outcomes of the Oregon AIM grant is scaling or replicating this apprenticeship model across the state.”
In addition to the apprenticeships, the grant will help PCC customize registered apprenticeship classes to reach additional individuals, promoting scalability across the state. The college can now embed National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) credentials into the Machinist Apprenticeship Program where possible. It also facilitates more participation from small- and mid-sized companies.
Partners include the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP), Worksystems, Inc., Northwest Oregon Works, Pacific Northwest Industrial Maintenance and Millwright Program advisory members, OMIC-aligned advisory members, Madden Industrial Craftsmen and the Oregon Department of Human Services.
And, the Northwest Regional Education Service District’s STEM Hub is the recipient of a $74,510 grant from the Oracle STEM Education Grants Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation. This funding will help OMIC partners close gaps and expand career-connected learning throughout Clatsop, Columbia, and Tillamook counties. Activities include internship model expansion, college and career fairs, and professional development for high school teachers and counselors.
“A portion of this grant will support several workshops over the next two to three years to help CTE & STEM instructors in the region to learn how to align with OMIC training programs and goals,” Holden added.