HCC, U.S. Department of Labor join forces for manufacturing apprenticeships

Houston Community College has become a U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Center with a partnership formed between the college and the federal department during a ceremony March 18.

By working directly with employers, the new Registered Apprenticeship Center at the HCC Stafford Campus Workforce Building, 13622 Stafford Road, allows the college to be better positioned to help build a strong workforce for the industry.

Home to HCC Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence (COE), the Registered Apprenticeship Center will focus on training qualified workers in high-growth, high-demand and high-wage occupations. The areas include machining, additive manufacturing, robotics, CNC operations and advanced manufacturing.

“This is a historic milestone for HCC and the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence,” said Ritu Raju, interim dean of Advanced Manufacturing COE. “For the first time, HCC will serve as the sponsor of the apprenticeships and will work directly with employers.”

Students who complete the machining technology or manufacturing engineering technology program at the center can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and Certificate Level 2 or Certificate Level 1.

There are only two registered apprenticeship centers in the region and HCC is the only one offering manufacturing apprenticeships, according to James F. Carnes, apprenticeship representative at the U.S. Department of Labor.

“By taking this bold step we’re making apprenticeships more accessible to the American public, to the employers and to the potential employees,” Carnes said.

Houston is recognized as a top manufacturing city in the U.S. with more than 10,000 manufacturers employing more than a quarter million skilled workers in the production of plastics, rubber, metals, medical devices, valves, fittings, steel products and petrochemicals.

“With a state-of-the-art campus, highly qualified faculty and accreditation from industry-recognized bodies, such as the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) and National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), Houston Community College is the perfect partner to serve local employers to create a talent pipeline and upskill incumbent workers,” said Raju.

The ceremony was hosted by HCC Chancellor Dr. Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E., and Board Chair Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz at the HCC Administrative Building in Midtown Houston.

For more information about HCC Advanced Manufacturing COE, visit hccs.edu/manufacturing or call 713-718-7757.