The U.S. Department of Labor Employment Training Administration has awarded over $23 million to Cleveland Community College and a consortium of college and university partners for the development of a Mission Critical Operations program. The total grant is $23,200,362. College partners include Moultrie Technical College in Moultrie, Georgia; Nash Community College in Rocky Mount; Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh; and The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
CCC is the consortium leader and will be responsible for project management and all project outcomes of the grant. According to CCC President Dr. L. Steve Thornburg, “Our faculty in both our Automation and Computer Information Technology programs had a vision and worked collaboratively to develop the grant proposal. Support from the program comes from, most importantly, our local employers but also from regional and national organizations.”
“Cleveland Community College is very proud to have created this concept and looks forward to working with our college and industry partners to create opportunities for our local and regional workforce,” adds Dr. Thornburg.
The grant will be used to develop a career training pathway to address the demand for a mission critical workforce able to anticipate, prevent, mitigate, and respond to mission critical breaks. This includes everything from cybersecurity, infrastructure maintenance, communications, emergency operations and any factor of a system including equipment, process, procedure, or software whose failure will result in the failure of a business operation.
According to Senior Dean of Development and Governmental Relations, Eddie Holbrook, this type of training can reinvent our county’s economy. “Thanks to this grant we can now implement the programs and training we will need to reinvent, diversify, and better train our workforce to modern day mission critical needs. The project will merge two skill sets in the areas of industrial systems, like electrical or HVAC, and information technology.”
Local partners involved with the mission critical project include Duke Energy, Clearwater Paper, STEAG Energy Services, Region C Workforce Development Board, Charlotte Regional Partnership, NC Department of Commerce-Division of Workforce Solutions, 7×24 Exchange-Carolinas Chapter, Automation Federation, International Society of Automation, North Carolina Community College System, and NCSU Industrial Extension Service.
“Mission Critical skills are the skills needed to keep the place running,” says Vince Reese, Plant Manager of tissue product manufacturer Clearwater Paper. “It’s the need for equipment operators to understand the mission critical operations of the facility,” he adds.