Connecting employers and job-seekers in Michigan

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

The Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing breaks down walls between community colleges and industry to train today’s workforce.

In 2013, a $24.9 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant was awarded to a collaborative of eight Michigan community colleges to launch an advanced manufacturing initiative—the Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing (M-CAM). The goal of the initiative was to bring together colleges and industry to train workers for current and future jobs. At the time, the M-CAM service area, was comprised of 58,000 people adversely affected by jobs going overseas.

M-CAM launched in 2014 and offers training opportunities in four key areas of advanced manufacturing: welding, CNC/machining, multi-skill/mechatronics and production operations. It’s creating a 21st-century workforce by connecting with advanced manufacturing employers and delivering industry-focused training that results in skilled workers who have industry-recognized credentials. Students are learning the latest skills on state-of-the-art equipment and software.

M-CAM has exceeded its goals. The initiative has engaged more than 2,800 participants and has a high retention and completion rate—approximately 90 percent. As of April, 37 percent of the participants had completed and exited M-CAM programs. Of those, 70 percent are employed and 75 percent have received a wage increase over their previous earnings.

The initiative continues to evolve. In September, the eight colleges signed an articulation agreement intended to provide a seamless curriculum transition for students participating in an M-CAM-sponsored program to transfer between the M-CAM institutions. Students can apply credits earned through an M-CAM program at any of the coalition colleges. This ability to be mobile encourages continued education and training for ongoing advancement.

“This articulation agreement takes M-CAM’s impact  a step further by making the credit that program graduates earn portable within the coalition, enhancing their ability to pursue further education and credentials, supporting career progression,” Macomb Community College President James Jacobs said in a press release.

The eight M-CAM colleges are Bay College, Grand Rapids Community College, Kellogg Community College, Lake Michigan College, Lansing Community College, Macomb Community College, Mott Community College and Schoolcraft College.

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AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.