The Community College of Rhode Island is teaming with LinkedIn Learning, the world’s top online learning platform, to promote careers in advanced manufacturing, one of more than 80 degrees and certificates offered at the college.
CCRI joined the growing video platform with its participation in the recently-added “Skilled Trades: Manufacturing Careers” course. Taught by renowned engineer and former lecturer Kipp Bradford, the hour-long course features testimonials from CCRI manufacturing students and tips from faculty on the importance of manufacturing and how to pursue a career in the industry.
“Working with LinkedIn Learning, the leader in personalized, data-driven learning experiences, is a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase our advanced manufacturing programs and drive students toward pursuing a career in manufacturing,” said CCRI’s vice president of Workforce Partnership Julian L. Alssid.
“This is great promotional and educational material for recruits that are considering becoming a student in the program, or for recruiting faculty and employer partners for the program.”
CCRI’s Division of Workforce Partnerships offers certificates in various fields from healthcare to education. Developed as a partnership with Polaris MEP, the Fast Track to CNC Manufacturing program launched in 2017. With funding from the Department of Labor and Training Real Jobs Rhode Island initiative, the 20-week boot camp teaches the fundamentals of manufacturing, safety and blueprint reading while helping students secure employment as CNC machinists or operators.
As part of the program, the college partnered with several Rhode Island-based manufacturing companies, including Eaton Corporation, Groov-Pin, Guill Tool & Engineering Co., and Goodwin-Bradley Pattern Co., many of whom have hired students directly from the classroom. Of the 47 students who’ve completed at least one phase of the program, 43 are being placed, currently working in the field, or are continuing their education, which is a 91-percent success rate.
“Manufacturing jobs are in high demand because there is an aging-out process,” said CCRI program coordinator Jim Thomson. “We’ve spoken with some of the companies we partner with and they’ve told us 60 percent of their employees will be gone in the next five years. That’s a lot of jobs.
“A lot of machinists are in their 50s and 60s, and if you go on those shops floors, sometimes you don’t see anyone under 50 there, but there’s a little bit of a stigma about manufacturing. A lot of people think it’s dirty, loud and not too inviting.”
The reality, as this course points out, is manufacturing jobs boast higher-than-average pay rates, job security and a high number of employees eligible for health benefits. Modern manufacturing jobs also feature the use of cutting-edge technology, such as 3-D printing, and the skills acquired are transferrable throughout a number of industries, including aerospace, medical or agriculture.
“Manufacturing is a very impactful part of the workforce,” Alssid said. “Manufacturing accounts for 11 percent of the U.S. economy and nine percent of the workforce. What’s really interesting is the impact of manufacturing, the ripple-effect of manufacturing firms. It’s a third of the U.S. economy. A third of the people in the U.S. are either working in manufacturing or directly-related businesses.”
With 14,500 expert-led courses, LinkedIn Learning allows users to discover and develop skills in various fields, from social media marketing and project management to customer service and web design, through online videos and tutorials.
While LinkedIn Learning is a premium subscription-based service, all LinkedIn members have free access to the manufacturing course. The tutorial offers a brief introduction to manufacturing, a look at available jobs in the field, how-to videos on assembling software and an inside look at CCRI’s Manufacturing and Trades workforce program with commentary from Alssid, Thomson, and instructor Dan Gill. Students in the program, many of whom discovered manufacturing as a second career later in life, are also featured in the video.
In addition to the course, premium LinkedIn users can download a manufacturing resources handout with links to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, information on where to take manufacturing courses and a directory of manufacturers in the United States.