Education, Industry Partnership, and the Creation of Innovative Workforce Training Spaces

Education, Industry Partnership, and the Creation of Innovative Workforce Training Spaces

Tom McDonnell (Metropolitan Community College, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5861-3.ch015
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This chapter describes the planning process undertaken by Metropolitan Community College (MCC) in Omaha, Nebraska to program and design three new academic buildings to meet demand for middle skill workforce training in the Omaha area. Context on the economic climate in the Omaha area is provided to establish the need for more extensive job training programs at MCC. This chapter also describes the engagement of a master planning consultant, as well as internal and external stakeholders to develop a comprehensive facilities master plan. Finally, a description of each of the new buildings is provided.
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The Economics

Nationally, the “skills gap”, as it is known, is widening at an alarming rate. The Manufacturing Institute in Washington, DC ( first published a study on the widening skills gap back in 2003. There have been updates to the report since that time, the most recent being in 2015. Authored in conjunction with Deloitte Development LLC, the 2015 report notes there will be more than 3.5 million job openings in the manufacturing sector in the next decade for skilled, aka middle skilled, laborers, and more than 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled (Giffi et al., 2015). With such a widening skills gap, companies employing skilled labor are less likely to take on expansion opportunities and build capacity to increase production, because the reality is they simply cannot.

The greater Omaha Metropolitan area is in need of middle skill level employees. Omaha mirrors the rest of the nation, where there is growing concern over the shortage of middle skill workers. The concern is over the graying of the workforce in the middle skill sector, with insufficient numbers of younger workers ready to replace the retired or soon-to-be retired incumbent workforce (Modestino, 2016). To be considered “middle skill” or skilled labor, a job requires some college-level work by way of either an Associate of Applied Science degree, an industry certification, or some just in time workforce training program (Modestino, 2016). At MCC, students can earn degrees in middle skill professions such as welding, precision machining, carpentry, electrical technician, and plumbing.

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