CCAM Secures Funding to Build Apprenticeship Academy

The state and federal funds will be used to construct an academy that will create industry-driven curricula to enhance advanced manufacturing in Virginia.

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The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM; Richmond, Virginia) has announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded the company a $3.15 million grant to build an apprentice academy in Prince George County, Virginia. The grant is supplemented by an additional $9.5 million appropriated from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

CCAM established the Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy to bolster the state’s advanced manufacturing industry by giving workers factory-ready skills and credentials for high paying jobs.The grants will enable CCAM to begin construction on the Academy.

The Academy will create industry-driven curricula to enhance advanced manufacturing statewide. The academy’s first three programs are for machinery, welding and mechatronics, the last of which combines the studies of mechanical, electronic components, computer systems and human interface. Certification standards will be defined by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS), the American Welding Society, and the NIMS and Siemens Mechatronics Systems Certification Program for industrial maintenance mechanics.

The Academy will take a practical approach to training, says CCAM Workforce Director Bruce Sobczak. “Our vision is to house a true ‘earn-while-you-learn’ apprenticeship model including structured classroom time, virtual instruction on an industry-driven curriculum, hands-on paid apprentice positions with industry employers, and recognized industry certificates and credentials. We will build upon the current workforce training network from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission’s partnership with CCAM, including the Advanced Manufacturing Centers of Excellence and the Transitioning Veteran’s Programs located in Virginia.”

Tobacco Commission Executive Director Evan Feinman adds, “Having a well-trained workforce that is able to fill jobs as they become available is critical to the Tobacco Commission’s goal of developing a diverse economy in the areas we serve. Our partnership with CCAM has already paid dividends by improving our ability to attract top employers from around the world, and this project is another big step in the right direction.”

CCAM Development Director Betsey Odell says that with capital for construction secured, it will begin a public fundraising campaign.

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