Valencia’s new Advanced Manufacturing Training Center officially opened its doors today with a grand opening ceremony. Osceola County leaders and industry representatives joined Valencia officials in launching the new facility, which will train workers for high-tech manufacturing jobs while helping employers secure a critical pipeline of skilled labor.
Students at the new center will learn hands-on skills that are heavily in demand in Florida. The 12-week to 6-month-long training programs lead to industry certifications in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, Mechatronics, MSSC Certified Production Technician, MSSC Certified Logistics Technician, advanced welding technology, and quality, inspection and assembly, among other certifications.
“This is a great example of how the community and industry can partner together to educate and train students for high-skill, high-wage employment through an intensive, short-term training program,” said Joe Battista, Valencia’s vice president for Global, Professional and Continuing Education. “We all worked together to improve the employment opportunities for those who were unemployed, underemployed, or just seeking a new career.”
Video: Various manufacturing machines will help students learn at Valencia College’s new advanced manufacturing training center in Kissimmee.
Valencia began training students for careers in advanced manufacturing in 2012, when the college received a $683,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. In 2014, the college was awarded an additional $2.5 million federal grant to expand its advanced manufacturing training. Using money from the grant, Valencia was able to renovate, equip and run the 17,000 square-foot training center, located on Shady Lane in Kissimmee.
“With about 12,000 employees across Florida, it’s critical for Lockheed Martin to have a pipeline of highly skilled people for our future workforce,” said Pat Sunderlin, vice president at Lockheed Martin. “Valencia’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center will help keep Florida competitive for jobs and new business by developing workers proficient in high-tech production processes.”
Graduates from the Valencia program are currently employed at Lockheed Martin, Custom Metal Designs, TriQuint/Qorvo, .decimal, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and other Central Florida employers. The college received equipment donations from several industry partners, including Lockheed Martin, Lincoln Electric and an academic software grant from Siemens.
Following today’s ceremony, a group of 19 students will graduate from the Advanced Manufacturing program, including 14 who are U.S. military veterans. The next class will have about 65 students with classes starting Feb. 8. When all the new certification programs are up and running by the end of 2016, the center will be able to accommodate 200 students.