PPE approvedBy Jennifer Poe, Lead Data Manager at Industrial Technical Learning Center After a year of hard work by manufacturing and logistics industry partners, regional postsecondary educators and two workforce boards, the goal to open a regional training center in the Inland/Desert region of southern California was finally achieved. On February 16, 2016, the Industrial Technical Learning (InTech) Center officially opened its doors to students and faculty. To make the center a reality, Chaffey College and its partners, applied for and was awarded a grant from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program. The InTech Center is a 28,000-square-foot facility, located on California Steel Industries’ site in Fontana, California. The partnership between California Steel Industries and Chaffey College is a prime example of how industry and education can work together to build training capacity in a region. By working with industry to determine workforce needs and skills gaps, career pathways focusing on industrial electrical and industrial mechanical training were implemented at the center. These pathways provide stackable certifications and multiple on and off ramps, which allow for flexibility and customization within programs. The center structures on and off ramps within its programs so trainees can take time off to work then can come back to the center to continue their training. Having multiple on and off ramps benefits all types of applicants; whether trainees lack experience or are incumbent workers, there is an entry point to build skills that employers are seeking. In response to increased demand for control systems technicians in the region and state, the InTech Center – in partnership with building operators, utility scale solar/power generators, distributors and manufacturers – developed an additional on-off ramp for industrial electrical and mechanical training with a focus on instrumentation and automation.  As part of this pathway, trainees complete NCCER’s HVAC Level I and receive OSHA 10 cards along with EPA-40 and EPA Universal certifications. Much of the training offered at the InTech Center utilizes NCCER’s industry-recognized, standardized curriculum. The California Community College System, an NCCER Accredited Training Sponsor, is also housed at the site. The California Community College System works with all 113 community colleges throughout California as well as many K-12 districts to establish pathways from kindergarten to employment. The center’s programs range in duration from two weeks to ten months, depending on the program and schedule. The InTech Center offers full-time courses Monday through Friday as well as part-time courses in the evenings and on weekends. Beginning in July, the center will offer coursework in a hybrid format so trainees can do a large portion of their coursework at home and then come to campus to complete the hands-on and performance testing requirements. This change is designed to accommodate individuals who work various schedules throughout the vast geographic area of the Inland/Desert region. The center focuses on rapidly responding to industry workforce needs and developing requested training where possible. For example, the center is exploring the possibility of providing skills testing of potential candidates for our industry partners. NCCER’s standardized curricula and assessment programs work well to facilitate this. The InTech Center is currently on target provide skills development to over 2,500 trainees in its first two years, and thanks to grant funds, most of the training is free or at limited cost. For the incumbent workforce, the center has access to California’s Employment Training Panel funds, which greatly reduces employer training costs while providing workers with the skills they need. Several major foundations have also contributed funding to the center to allow outreach and pre-apprenticeship training to regional K-12 districts. For more information on the InTech Center, visit intechcenter.org or call 909-320-6963.

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.