116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Business
The Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative wants to change perceptions on careers in advanced manufacturing to beef up its future workforce.
The campaign now has the potential for wider capabilities of outreach to K-12 students after it received more than $500,000 in funding on Tuesday. The funding included $225,000 from Iowa community colleges, $150,000 from the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and $150,00 from 11 private businesses.
'We have over 6,000 great paying advanced manufacturing careers open. In order to allow our membership to grow and to keep Iowa as one of the top manufacturing states, we need to provide a workforce,” said Michele Farrell, the Elevate program manager for ABI.
ABI has worked closely with the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, which oversees the Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative and is made up of Iowa's 15 community colleges, since it initially received a $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant program in October 2012.
The original $13 million was split among the community colleges and has been used to hire instructors, purchase equipment and provide educational resources. These resources focused on training the unemployed and adults to enter the workforce.
'What we realized was that that was really only a short-term band-aid for this big long-term problem,” said Susan Metheny, statewide marketing and workforce coordinator for Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing Consortium.
Metheny explained that the public recognizes the importance of manufacturing jobs, but doesn't always recognize it as a career path, which can create a shortage in a skilled workforce in the industry.
The $500,000 will be focused on long-term solutions through community outreach. The goal is to change perceptions on the advanced manufacturing industry through offering K-12 educator resources and helping coordinate field trips with local manufacturers, among other resources.
Farrell said the program will help show the positives of advanced manufacturing careers, as well as offer K-12 students a look at various types of career options such as computer numerically controlled machining, robotics, welding and industrial automation.