RCBC, in partnership with Rowan University, recently earned a $770,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the region’s premier advanced manufacturing educational center.
The center was also supported by a contribution from Westampton-based Inductotherm.
“This Advanced Manufacturing Center puts Burlington County at the forefront in providing skilled workers to fill the many high-paying advanced manufacturing positions that are available today in this sector,” Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio said.
“This is also a message to businesses that through our Workforce Development Institute, we can work together to create solutions to keep your business in Burlington County and throughout the region growing,” Barganio said.
The associate degree will provide a key link between the BCIT’s new Advanced Manufacturing program at the Medford campus, where students are positioned to earn the National Institute of Metal Working Skills (NIMS), Level I & II credential assessments and Rowan University’s renowned engineering programs.
Next fall, RCBC will offer Mechanical Engineering with a certificate in advanced manufacturing on the Mt. Laurel campus.
The grant will also lead to certificates for students interested in working toward a career or people already in the career looking to develop new skills.
“All the stars have aligned to transform Burlington County into the premier advanced manufacturing center in our region,” RCBC President Paul Drayton said. “Advanced manufacturing provides some of the higher salaries in the workforce and we will provide all the tools needed for residents to enter, advance and flourish in this growing industry from high school through associate and bachelor’s degrees.”
Rowan University’s Mechanical Engineering program will be heavily involved in implementing the program in coordination with industry leaders.
“This is a perfect example of how our partnership can fuel innovation and drive the regional economy,” Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand said.
“Advanced manufacturing,” Dr. Ali Houshmand said, “is a critical piece to the state’s economic future and we will provide the best training programs possible for this growing field in a great collaboration among educational institutions and the manufacturing sector that will create new and affordable degree programs.”
Advanced manufacturing training has already begun at BCIT. Thirty-three students have engaged in the exploration of the four-year program in Advanced Manufacturing and Fabrication.
In addition, the college’s Workforce Development Institute is partnering with BCIT’s Adult Education Division for adults who are interested in entering this field. The initial six-week training program will begin in January.
“Advanced manufacturing is one of the seven talent networks identified by the Department of Labor as one of the in-demand industries in New Jersey and grows more important every day as technology advances,” BCIT Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher Nagy said. “We’re proud to be at the forefront of what will surely become the region’s premier advanced manufacturing training center.”
The grant also provides funding for improvements to the college’s Electronic Engineering Technology program. The National Science Foundation previously awarded the college a grant in 2007 that focuses on this area and RCBC and BCIT recently partnered on a program that provides high school students the opportunity to earn 30 credits toward an Electronic Engineering Technology degree before college.
“We are proud that the National Science Foundation recognizes the quality of our work and our ability to create programs that can be replicated throughout the country,” said RCBC Senior Vice President and Provost Dr. David Spang, who led the grant writing effort and will also lead its implementation as principal investigator.
“With the assistance of our many talented partners, Rowan College at Burlington County is committed to fulfilling the vision of this grant, which is to create programs that benefit students and meet the needs of employers in a growing sector,” Dr. Spang said.