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Building the Future Workforce with Additive

October 8, 2015 | Category: Education

Additive manufacturing and 3D printing are game-changers,offering limitless opportunities for new industrial production,and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) is getting a foothold in the field as a Center of Excellence that can provide flexible,in-demand training for the advanced manufacturing workforce.

Building the Future Workforce with Additive

By Craig McAtee
Executive Director, National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC)

Additive manufacturing and 3D printing are game-changers, offering limitless opportunities for new industrial production, and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) is getting a foothold in the field as a Center of Excellence that can provide flexible,in-demand training for the advanced manufacturing workforce.

January 2015 marked the launch of a new 3D Digital Design and Manufacturing Technology credit certificate program through Tri-C’s Workforce, Community and Economic Development Division. The one year program is the first and only 3D printing and additive manufacturing credit program in higher education in Northeast Ohio. Eight non-credit courses in the field will also be offered. The courses, including hybrid and online options, range from six to 30 contact hours and are designed for industry professionals who need flexible options to help build their skill sets. The non-credit courses are expected to be offered this fall.

Because this is an emerging technology, there is growing demand for qualified workers. People with the right training and hands-on experience will be needed as additive operators, CAD drafters, designers and more.

Industry and academic professionals helped develop the college’s curriculum. To date, Tri-C has partnered with more than 50 regional companies to ensure that the 3D Digital Design and Manufacturing Technology curriculum, courses and training meet current and future workforce needs. The certificate program includes hands-on learning, internships and job placement assistance.

In addition to the credit certificate program and noncredit courses, Tri-C established itself as a leader of the additive manufacturing movement when it hosted the first Regional 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Conference, or R3D@Tri-C. This conference, held June 18-19, 2015, raised awareness of 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies, their applications, best practices, and career paths among stakeholders in the region.

R3D@Tri-C featured presentations and exhibits that showed how additive manufacturing saves time and money. It also provided a platform for sharing best practices and career opportunities. The conference included information for K-12 and higher education professionals on how to incorporate 3D printing technology, such as maker bots and fab labs, into their classrooms, along with information about career pathways for students. Keynote speaker Tim Cafrey delivered an enthusiastic and informative presentation about the state of the industry, which has quadrupled revenues in the past fve years and continues to grow. The conference also showcased the Strati, the first 3D-printed car, made by Local Motors at IMTS 2014.

More than 170 people—corporate representatives, entrepreneurs, educators and others—attended the conference.

The 3D Digital Design and Manufacturing Technology program was made possible through a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant funded the development of a certificate of proficiency in additive manufacturing and the enhancement of the existing Manufacturing Industrial Engineering Technology associate degree. The grant focuses on helping veterans and the underemployed or unemployed gain new workforce skills throughout Northeast Ohio, though anyone is encouraged to enroll.

Tri-C‘s 3D Digital Design and Manufacturing Technology program presents an opportunity to get started in an emerging technology. Financial aid is available for those who qualify, and day and evening classes make scheduling easy.

To learn more about Tri-C’s 3D Digital Design and Manufacturing Technology program, visit tri-c.edu/3dmfg or call 216-987-2769.