IACMI – The Composites Institute Awarded Grant For Scaling Excellence In The Defense Industry’s Composites Manufacturing Workforce

KNOXVILLE, Tenn./KAYSVILLE, Utah — December 2, 2019 — The Composites Institute has been awarded a $5 million grant, the Manufacturing Education Extension Program (MEEP), over the course of three years to expand upon the successful composites training program led by Davis Technical College to four locations across the United States. IACMI has established workforce development credentials, exceptional breadth, depth, and scale of membership and facilities networks, proven project management, and a history of successful collaboration with its many project partners. Through the MEEP grant, IACMI is able to leverage these credentials to support filling the Dept. of Defense (DOD) manufacturers’ critical skills gap with a qualified and adaptable workforce.

The award was granted to meet the need of Department of Defense manufacturers — especially those that develop aerial combat or reconnaissance equipment — which face massive attrition of skilled workers due to retirement and lack a local sourcing for developing a skilled workforce to meet business priorities. To support filling this critical skills gap, IACMI will partner with Davis Technical College to build out the college’s composites manufacturing technology program at multiple locations across the U.S.  The partnership also includes organizations that will leverage resources and expertise to complete the learning network. These partners include the following:

  • Enterprise State Community College in Enterprise, AL and the Composites Prototyping Center in Long Island, N.Y., which will be home to learning centers;
  • Purdue University, Vanderbilt University, the University of Dayton Research Institute, and the University of Tennessee, which will serve to implement the curriculum;
  • The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and SpaceTEC CerTEC will provide education alignment and certification support;
  • Composites One, which will collaborate to develop and deliver workshops with IACMI to support the continuous learning requirements for instructors; and
  • The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) Apprenticeship Works program will assist employers with establishing Department of Labor certified apprenticeship programs.

This national program will have the potential to address composite manufacturing workforce deficits in every state, collaborating with DOD manufactures to develop and deliver relevant training programs and providing opportunities for program graduates in high-skill, high-wage careers. Through collaboration with industrial experts and partners, the curriculum is designed to be competency-based, providing the learners with real-world experience, and it embeds fault simulations to sharpen participants’ decision making and trouble-shooting abilities.

Davis Technical College has seen huge success with this localized program, since the program began in October 2006. Utah has seen the composites and advanced manufacturing sector increase in this time, and now the state is home to more than 100 companies in the advanced materials sector. Through expanding the program with IACMI, the program is better able to reach the national needs of the defense industry. “The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) has partnered with Davis Technical College to train technicians through the Utah Aerospace Pathways (UAP) Program. The quality of training provided by DTC is second to none. The partnership between IACMI and DTC is very dynamic and could bring qualified trained technicians to companies nationwide,” said Ginger Chinn, Managing Director of Utah’s Urban and Rural Business Services GOED.

In addition to training program trainees, the national program will also train instructors prior to program launch and will continue to provide support throughout the duration of the program. Instructors will be trained in proven teaching methodologies and will receive certifications in specific processes and technologies. “The project proposed by IACMI and Davis Technical College presents a unique opportunity for solving workforce needs for current and next generation manufacturing. This innovative project aligns with the efforts we are making in the state of Alabama toward producing a highly skilled talent pipeline,” said Nick Moore, Coordinator at Alabama Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation

By creating an infrastructure with physical space, knowledgeable instructors, and trainees across the U.S., the partnership is expected to make significant impact in communities that are home to DOD manufacturing facilities. “By promoting the need to develop a trained and technically proficient workforce, the training program aligns with two of my key priorities, namely, promoting the Defense manufacturing industry on Long Island and providing middle class workers with a career pipeline to good paying jobs that will allow them to live the American Dream — the ability to purchase a home, raise a family and retire one day without worry,” said Representative Tom Suozzi of New York, representing the third district, which includes Long Island and the Composite Prototyping Center.

The national program will be led by IACMI’s Workforce Director, Joannie Harmon Heath, and Davis Technical College’s National Director for Composites Pathways, Wes Hobbs. The two have proven success graduating hundreds of highly-qualified students and trainees from a variety of programs. For example, the IACMI internship program has graduates more than 100 students with 100 percent of the students graduating from their academic programs and finding job or graduate school placements within six months. Additionally, the Davis Technical College program has a higher placement rate than graduation rate because the students who participate in the program are so well qualified and in such a high demand.

ACMA President Tom Dobbins said, “Over the past three years, Davis Technical College has had more than 150 graduates earn the American Composites Manufacturers Association’s Certified Composites Technician credentials as an earned capstone credential at the end of their program completion. These credentials allow graduates to enter the workforce with the certification reinforcing the applicable skills developed through the program. We are excited to support the MEEP and excellence through education.”

“We look forward to utilizing the network that we have created over the past five years through IACMI to expand the national training program. Davis Technical College’s leadership in this education space is incredibly valuable, and it will be a great resource to the U.S. to have this program available to more manufacturers and participants,” said Joannie Harmon Heath.

“We are looking forward to expanding our expertise to train a well-rounded national workforce for the composites industry. With the Davis Tech program alone, we have increased participation in the program by 20% each year and look forward to continuing to meet the needs of the industry,” said Darin Brush, president of Davis Technical College.

Posted December 2, 2019

Source: IACMI – The Composites Institute