County college officials and state Labor Commissioner Harold Wirth debuted New Jersey's first mobile manufacturing training classroom at Mercer County Community College last Friday.
The mobile unit—which weighs more than six tons when fully loaded—comes equipped with a mobile generator, 384-square-feet of classroom space, 10 computers, hands-on training equipment and its own tow truck. It will give students the opportunity to learn production technology, CNC metal fabrication and mechatronics.
Purchased and assembled with a federal grant by Camden County Community College, the mobile manufacturing training classroom will be one of two such trailers deployed in New Jersey.
Sivaraman Anbarasan, executive director of the New Jersey Community College Consortium, said in a recent press release that the mobile classroom will be most useful in training the unemployed in advanced manufacturing skills.
The Consortium coordinates the New Jersey Manufacturing Training Initiative, a two-year-old program that brings training resources from the state's 19 community colleges to local manufacturers.
"These trailers take our Manufacturing Training Initiative to the next level," Anbarasan said. "(They) can be towed anywhere in the state where (they're) needed most."
These days, that's just about everywhere—a chronic shortage of skilled labor has long been limiting the growth of New Jersey manufacturers across the state.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce development—which supports the Manufacturing Training Initiative by contributing millions of dollars in grants—mandates that local manufacturers who participate in the training process also hire one or more of its graduates.
Wirth told manufacturers, "We're going to train them, and you're going to hire them."
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