Clackamas Community College is challenging people to rethink the fields of manufacturing and machining. Once thought of as hard-labor jobs in dirty workshops, the college is flipping the ideology of the industry with the grand opening this week of its new Industrial Technology Center on the Oregon City campus.
The 44,424-square-foot facility is the new home of the college’s manufacturing, computer numerical control (CNC) machining and renewable energy programs, along with other in-demand career technical education programs. The ITC will increase access to affordable education programs, allowing students training for family-wage jobs or transfer to four-year universities.
The facility features expansive manual and CNC lab space, a maker space/flex lab, partner space, state-of-the-art machine tool technology, a large renewable energy outdoor field lab and indoor/outdoor event space.
“This is not your grandfather’s workshop,” Cynthia Risan, dean of technology, applied science and public services, said. “Our students learn from industry-knowledgeable instructors on modern equipment in a state-of-the-art facility.”
Students who complete a certificate or degree in manufacturing have a quick path to middle-income jobs. According to WorkSource, the average manufacturing wage is $44,650 a year. The field currently has 94,110 jobs with the prediction of another 26,315 new jobs by 2025.
“The demand for employees in machining, welding and renewable energy is extremely high right now,” Mike Mattson, chair of the college’s manufacturing technology department, said. “Employers are at our door seeking qualified employees. Our employment rates are essentially 100 percent.”
For those ages 17-19, Clackamas Community College offers the TechHire grant to provide internship and work experience placement, education opportunities in manufacturing and related industries, career readiness training and student advising. Visit www.clackamas.edu/TechHire.
The $28-million project is funded through a bond as well as an $8-million match for the state of Oregon. The center is one of several bond-funded projects at Clackamas Community College. Voters approved a $90-million bond measure in November 2014 to expand opportunities for students and to increase the skilled workforce in the community.
To celebrate the completion of the center, the college is hosting activities all day on National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 5.
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