Courier News: Workforce Training Center at RVCC getting $3M expansion
BRANCHBURG – Three million dollars in federal money will fund a clean room at Raritan Valley Community College as part of its Workforce Training Center program to train future employees in Central Jersey's growing life sciences manufacturing industry.
A clean room is an isolated space with a very low concentration of airborne particles to prevent any possible contamination in scientific research and certain manufacturing processes.
The money, allocated by the Somerset County Board of Commissioners from American Rescue Plan funds, will fund more than just the clean room, which will be the first in any New Jersey community college.
The money will also allow the Workforce Training Center to expand from 44,000 to 66,000 square feet by adding classrooms, electric vehicle automotive and mechatronics spaces, and doubling the number of advanced manufacturing programs supporting area high school students.
“Somerset County’s support for RVCC’s students and the Workforce Training Center is extraordinary, and we are excited to align these efforts with the county’s economic development vision,” said college President Michael J. McDonough. “Your generosity will allow us to build a best-in-class center for biomanufacturing right here at RVCC to support the growing need for aseptic manufacturing vital to vaccine, medicine, and medical device development.”
Since its launch two years ago, Somerset County’s Office of Planning, Policy and Economic Development has focused on growing the life sciences manufacturing.
In the past year, the industry has announced expansion plans for more than 700,000 square feet to support thousands of jobs which will require the training that the college's Workforce Training Center will provide.
“Somerset County’s goal is to partner with RVCC to provide our residents with the training and skills to secure good-paying jobs in growing industries while helping current employers confidently develop next-generation services and manufacturing,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Doug Singleterry. “This virtuous circle will support a growing economic environment and encourage even more businesses and highly skilled workers to call Somerset County home.”
For the past five years, the college has targeted fostering relationships and partnerships with employers to identify current and future workforce requirements.
In turn, the college developed certification and degree programs to meet the employers' needs.
The additional space at the Workforce Training Center will enable RVCC to expand programming for students at all levels, including high school students, traditional and non-traditional college age students, under- and unemployed adults, career changers and underrepresented communities.
Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account.