Metropolitan Community College is working harder than ever to train an emerging workforce for the equally emerging technological field in today’s society. These efforts are all taking place within the walls of their brand new Center for Advanced and Emerging Technologies (CAET), another outstanding way to help students work with the link between manufacturing and information technology.
In addition, the college is in the midst of their initiative to build a new Construction Education Center to be located besides CAET. “For decades, manufacturing workers were operators of machinery,” says Tom Pensabene, executive director of Metro’s Workforce Innovation Division. “Now, their skill set demands are far more complex–they’re technicians, required to know as much about information technology as the mechanical workings of their equipment.,” he says to the Omaha World-Herald. In total, MCC will be spending $90 million in expansion dollars to ensure that their students can do just that by adding three new buildings on the south side of campus.
Hence, the beauty of the Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology, the “new building at MCC.” Construction on the building, which broke ground in 2014, will take place over the course of three years. The redesign will update current technology equipment, and provide improved job training for students in the technology fields.
The school website says that the new building will fill many needs, including better education about transportation and technology, the MCC academic data center, the FabLab, exhibition spaces, teleconferencing spaces, economic development offices, team and individual workspaces, and more. The goal of the building is to consolidate programs and begin new flagship programs only made possible by this new spaces. “The project will mean some new programs, more students in existing disciplines, and a permanent home for some technology-related degrees that currently have none,” said executive vice president Jim Grotrian.
For example, welding is currently offered throughout Metro’s campuses, but will be consolidated into one building with more classroom space. The World-Herald explains that residential and commercial HVAC programs will be taught together, and at the advanced technology center, critical facilities management will begin as a flagship program. Information technology will also be added on to the new Construction Education Center as a major part of the curriculum, as IT is a growing sector in the construction industry.
Most importantly, both of the new buildings will provide high-technology, useful spaces for students to train for future careers at middle-skilled workers. According to the National Skills Coalition, the demand for middle-skilled workers remains high, and this is one of the primary reasons MCC is investing in this type of project: “The center will be a catalyst that can take the region and the state to the next level of economic development,” says Craig MCatee, executive director of the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers.
Between the new programs in construction and advanced technology, MCC will be able to train up to 1,300 students annually. This number has the power to make a significant impact on the skills gap in Nebraska.
The buildings are still in construction, and we look forward to seeing how they progress and develop over the next few years! It’s incredible to have institutions such as these in Nebraska who are truly making an impact to respond to employment needs around the state.
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