State-of-the-Art Workforce Training Center Helps Prepare Students for Employment

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
man working on machine with sparks

Raritan Valley Community College ushered in a new era of hands-on learning in May with the official opening of the College’s Workforce Training Center (WTC). The 47,000 square foot building houses programs, designed in partnership with local industry, to better serve the community’s economic and employment needs.

The facility enables the College to house its career training programs under one roof including Automotive Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Technology (metal-works fabrication), Cosmetology, Esthetics (skincare), Environmental Control Technology, and Commercial Energy Management.

The state-of-the art facility features:

• An Automotive Technology training center equipped with Snap-on diagnostic equipment, offering Subaru and Chrysler manufacturer training and preparing graduates to take the Automotive Service Excellence Certification test
• A working salon and spa for Cosmetology and Esthetics students to master their skills
• Advanced Manufacturing shop equipped with 3D printing, Haas CNC machines, and welding labs to expertly prepare students to meet the regional employment demand for entry-level and advanced skilled machinists
• Environmental Control Technology and Commercial Energy Management shops equipped with the latest equipment for students to practice their trade
• A Small Business Development Center that annually assists 400 entrepreneurs in starting or expanding businesses
• Modern classrooms for individuals or corporate teams to gain critical skills from expert instructors teaching industry-driven curriculum as well as customized training

“The College, which has long been celebrated for its academic transfer programs, is now leading the way in providing a state-of-the-art facility for students to train for careers in some of the most sought-after occupations. Our commitment to career training has been a collaborative effort, bringing together leaders in industry and higher education to develop programs that will prepare students to thrive and excel in today’s competitive workforce,” said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough.

So far, the results are already promising: All of the 2016 Advanced Manufacturing graduates, who had been long-term employed when they entered the program, found employment; 90 percent of the Automotive Technology graduates have secured jobs in the automotive field including working at manufacturer dealerships, franchise repair shops, and privately owned shops; 90 percent of Cosmetology students have found employment and 100 percent have passed their state licensing exam.

Financing for the $11.5 million facility includes $8 million from the state Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund—which requires no College or local match—and $3.5 million from the State of New Jersey’s Chapter 12 Community College Building Fund. Under the Chapter 12 program, counties issue bonds for the construction project. The state pays half of the cost of repaying the debt service and the counties of Somerset and Hunterdon pay the remaining 50 percent.

The WTC facility, which incorporates prefabricated construction design methods, was designed by SSP Architectural Group of Bridgewater.

The professional and corporate training at the WTC includes the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) Basic Skills Workforce Training Program and the Ready To Work Grant Training Program. In partnership with the NJ Community College Workforce Consortium, these granted-funded programs offer corporate customized training and professional development courses—at no tuition cost—to employers and workers from Somerset and Hunterdon County businesses. Training also can be delivered on-site at a company’s location.