Workforce Division Shines with Apprenticeship Opportunities, Hiring Success

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
female hvac student at work

RVCC’s Workforce Training Division had a stellar year in 2018-2019, with new grant and apprenticeship opportunities, great hiring success for students and graduates, and service learning engagement.

In January, RVCC became the first community college in New Jersey to offer a registered apprenticeship program in manufacturing. Approved by the US Department of Labor, the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Certified Machinist Apprenticeship program offers students hands-on training experience in an apprenticeship. The structured training program enables students to go to work and school at the same time, offering them a valuable opportunity to put their skills into practice and gain confidence in a working environment.

RVCC has received two new grants that will expand apprenticeship opportunities for high school students and adults in advanced manufacturing—the Pre-apprenticeship in Career Education (PACE) Grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor; and the Expanding Community College Apprenticeships (ECCA) program grant led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. The one-year, $167,645 PACE grant provides training for 15 high school students and 15 adults. The three-year $140,000 ECCA grant focuses on apprentices for students ages 17 and older. RVCC is the only community college in NJ to participate in the federal ECCA program.

The College is also one of eight community colleges included in the Growing Apprenticeship in Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) grant. The $4.5 million grant from the NJ Department of Labor focuses on providing related technical instruction (RTI) for students entering into an apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeships are just one example of the College’s efforts to bridge the gap between a high school education and the workforce. RVCC’s Workforce Training Division has developed relationships with area high schools that help build awareness about the College and provide a pipeline of students. A Cosmetology Completer Program has been developed that will enable Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School (SCVTHS) students to fulfill the necessary hours for the New Jersey State Cosmetology license exam and enter into a practicum training experience.

The Advanced Manufacturing program works with Manville High School, Bound Brook High School and SCVTHS to provide students with training and career pathways. Beginning in ninth grade, students receive hands-on manufacturing training for two hours a day at RVCC’s Workforce Training Center. After completing all program requirements, students receive 12 stackable credentials through NIMS. Students are then able to go directly into the workforce or continue their education at RVCC after they graduate from high school.

Workforce graduates are in high demand. In 2018, 100 percent of RVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Certified Production Technician graduates were hired by employer partners; 100 percent of the Commercial Energy Management (CEM-Tech) students are employed in their field; and 95 percent of Environmental Control Technology (HVAC) graduates have jobs in their field.

The College’s Beauty Programs continue to offer great educational opportunities for students. The Esthetics program, which began in January 2017, has a waiting list for fall 2019. RVCC’s Cosmetology and Esthetics students participate in Cut-It-Out, a national initiative dedicated to mobilizing salon spa professionals, students and others to fight domestic abuse. In 2018-2019, RVCC students participated in a yearlong domestic violence training conducted by the non-profit organization, Safe in Hunterdon.

The College’s MIG (metal inert gas) Welding program successfully ran three cohorts of students, with the second cohort funded by an IMPAQ/Maher Education Fund grant obtained by the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Fund. Students who successfully complete the American Welding Society-certified program receive an AWS certificate that will enable them to enter the industry at entry-level or higher standing.

For individuals looking to further their careers in more business-related areas, the Workforce Training Division also provides professional certification programs in such areas as Administrative Assistant, Principals of Municipal Court Administration (POMCA), and Real Estate.

RVCC’s programs are highly responsive to the region’s workforce needs and serve as a vital pathway to work, continued education, and a better life.