“It is important to us all that we’re ready for jobs that we don’t even know exist right now,” Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said. “Technology is moving at a speed that is really incredible for us all to imagine and ... this is really going to prepare people for the technical jobs that are going to be so critical.”
The 3,000-square-foot laboratory will feature high-tech machining equipment, including mills, lathes, saws, grinders and presses as well as a classroom with workbenches and computers.
College President Jianping Wang said that jobs exist, but too often, employers complain that graduates lack the skills needed to succeed in the technology-driven manufacturing field.
“There is a huge gap between the traditional model of educating our students and the expectations the employers have for our graduates,” she said. “The reality now is we have graduates who are unemployed or underemployed and then we have employers who are looking for skilled and ready-to-work employees and they can’t find them.”
MCCC currently offers a certificate program in advanced manufacturing technology, but hopes to have a two-year degree program in place by the fall. Students would then be able to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset) said he has seen the need for advanced manufacturing training — both at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where he is a physicist and head of science education, and during his tours of small businesses as an assemblyman.
For Rojas’ full story, click here.