In Tandem

Washtenaw Community College President Rose B. Bellanca (left) joined Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (fifth from right) and others from industry, education and government at an MOU signing for the Michigan STAR initiative. (Photo: KLA Corp.)

  • Advancing the electrification of the automotive industry
  • MOU for electric vehicle training program
  • Online instruction for students in juvenile facilities
  • Improving access to housing

Advancing the electrification of the automotive industry

Washtenaw Community College (WCC) is partnering with the Michigan Semiconductor Talent and Automotive Research (STAR) initiative to launch a new semiconductor technician training program.  

The partnership was announced by KLA Corporation and imec, the Belgium-based research and development hub uniting key players in the semiconductor industry.

“In tandem” features recently announced community college partnerships with business and industry, higher education institutions and others.

The goal of the Michigan STAR initiative is to establish a center of excellence (COE) in the state, focusing on developing the talent base and infrastructure necessary to accelerate advanced semiconductor applications for electrification and autonomous mobility. Other founding partners for the center of excellence include General Motors, the University of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

WCC’s short-term program will launch over the next year. The program will train workers to support the manufacturing of electronic semiconductor chips. Michigan’s semiconductor workforce ranks among the top 10 in the nation, with job growth projected to grow by at least 11% in the next five years, according to MEDC.  

“One of the most important jobs we have as a community college is to listen to industry partners to understand talent needs and then customize programs to quickly train the current and future workforce,” said WCC President Rose B. Bellanca. “We stand ready to provide the training and education required to deepen our state’s talent pool with well-qualified technicians to support chip production.”

MOU for electric vehicle training program

Leadership from Georgia’s Savannah Technical College (STC) and Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week for a training partnership.

The first program in the effort is a new Electric Vehicle Professional certificate starting next semester at STC. Program completers will be preferred candidates for employment with HMGMA.

This eight-credit-hour certificate was designed at the request of Hyundai to prepare students for entry-level employment in the electric vehicle production industry.

“Everything we do at Savannah Technical College is about workforce development for our region,” STC said President Kathy Love. “We are proud to partner with HMGMA to help train their workforce. We appreciate their input to develop this short-term, specialized training certificate.”

Online instruction for students in juvenile facilities

The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) have collaborated on a pilot project providing online instruction to students in youth development centers.

The program allows students to gain college credits while at their facilities as part of a goal to reduce recidivism and support academic and career success. The pilot helped determine best practices and tested efficacy for use by the program.

The instruction is administered through NCCCS’s Virtual Learning Community colleges to students in multiple juvenile justice facilities.

Following the North Carolina Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, which raised the age of adult incarceration from 16 to 18 and went into effect in 2019, the community college system began discussions with DPS to increase access to college courses into juvenile facilities. A 2021 grant to DPS for technology made resources available for online courses.

Last year, DPS Director of Juvenile Education Adam Johnson was looking for ways to address the unique challenges the department would face in providing educational opportunities to older youth. That’s when he connected with Kathy Davis, NCCCS’s associate vice president of distance learning technologies.

“We knew our physical environment limited our ability to provide in-person community college classes and we would have challenges meeting the minimum student threshold for the colleges’ full-time equivalent requirements at our individual facilities,” Johnson said.

Davis was excited to hear from Johnson and his idea for collaboration. The pilot project “allows us to utilize our online learning platforms, digital tools, high quality instruction, and technical support to assist these students in achieving a new path forward in their lives,” Davis said.

The first two courses began in June 2022 at Edgecombe Youth Development Center and Lenoir Youth Development Center. The courses were “Human Resource Development – Working Smart Credential” and “Skills for Success.” Since then, more facilities and courses have been added.

Approximately 20 students have taken courses since the pilot began last summer.

Improving access to housing

Two Massachusetts community colleges are expanding housing options for students through an outside partnership.

Leadership from Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) have signed agreements with American International College (AIC) to allow students to reside in AIC campus residence halls and apartments in Springfield.

STCC President John B. Cook (left) shakes hands with AIC President Hubert Benitez. (Photo: STCC)

AIC will provide affordable housing options for full-time HCC and STCC students. The students residing at AIC will have access to the college’s health and counseling services, library, laundry facilities, gym and other support services.

“This agreement does more than just provide housing for our students; it will also give them a taste of college life beyond HCC. It gives them a window into what their futures will look like when they think about transfer possibilities and helps immerse them in another college environment, which are all big wins for our students,” HCC President Christina Royal said at an April agreement signing ceremony with AIC President Hubert Benitez.

The new housing option will allow HCC to expand its recruiting range of student-athletes and might also benefit international students, as well as those struggling to find affordable places to live.  

This isn’t the first partnership for STCC and AIC. They renewed an articulation agreement last year to facilitate the seamless transition of STCC graduates and qualified candidates to AIC.

About the Author

Tabitha Whissemore
Tabitha Whissemore is a contributor to Community College Daily and managing editor of AACC's Community College Journal.